New York state passes first electronics right-to-repair bill

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The fight for the right to repair scored a huge win Friday with New York state passing a bill that requires digital electronics manufacturers, like laptop and smartphone manufacturers, to make diagnostic and repair information available to consumers and independent repair shops.

The bill, which passed in the New York Senate (49 to 14) on Wednesday and in the Assembly (145 to 1) today, enacts the Digital Fair Repair Act. Governor Kathy Hochul has to sign the bill before it is law, but advocates, like iFixit, said they don't expect obstacles there.

Notably, the bill doesn't pertain to medical devices, home appliances, agricultural and off-road equipment, or public safety communications equipment. However, right-to-repair advocates have their eye on those areas as well. The bill also doesn't cover motor vehicles.

Companies selling tech products in New York that are covered will be obligated to distribute information, software, tools, and parts so that individuals and independent repair shops can repair personal devices on their own. iFixit said it expects this to take effect by 2023.

More specifically, the bill says it:
"Requires OEMs to make available, for purposes of diagnosis, maintenance, or repair, to any independent repair provider, or to the owner of digital electronic equipment manufactured by or on behalf of, or sold by, the OEM, on fair and reasonable terms, documentation, parts, and tools, inclusive of any updates to information. Nothing in this section requires an OEM to make available a part if the part is no longer available to the OEM. For equipment that contains an electronic security lock or other security-related function, the OEM shall make available to the owner and to independent repair providers, on fair and reasonable terms, any special documentation, tools, and parts needed to access and reset the lock or function when disabled in the course of diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of the equipment. Such documentation, tools, and parts may be made available through appropriate secure release systems."