Once signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Digital Fair Repair act will signal a huge change in the industry country-wide
In a huge win for right-to-repair advocates, New York is the first state in the US to pass an electronics right-to-repair law.
It requires all manufacturers who sell “digital electronic products” to make tools, parts, and instructions for repair available.
The law is a significant breakthrough for independent medical device service providers in New York, but also across the country.
Because making instructions available to third party providers in New York is what makes them available to providers in every state. Manufacturers can’t limit the availability of these documents just to the state. Once the information is available, it’s available everywhere.
For many of the products you use, this means third party repairs are likely to become more comprehensive.
What’s not covered in this new legislation
Home appliances, public safety communications equipment like police radios, agricultural equipment, off-road equipment, and medical devices are left out of the Digital Fair Repair act.
However, its experts expect legislation in the near future will address these sectors.
The bill passed the state senate on Wednesday, June 1 by a decisive vote of 59 to 4. It passed the Assembly the following Friday afternoon by a crushing vote of 147-2.
The final step is a signature by Gov. Kathy Hochul. If she signs (as she’s expected to) the law will come into effect in one year.
The bill is the most expansive consumer rights legislation to pass in the United States in recent memory and is the result of countless hours of grassroots campaigning from consumers and consumer rights groups.
The New York legislation was crafted on the framework of a similar law concerning car repairs in Massachusetts. After that legislation was enacted, vehicle manufacturers signed a memorandum of understanding that made the legislation a national policy, because they didn’t want to wrestle with slightly different versions of the same law in different states.
The California state Senate introduced its own right to repair bill in February. It is expected to follow the same trajectory as the New York bill.
About the Author
Laura Collier has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. She is the Marketing Manager at AIV, Inc.