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More on NY’s Digital Fair Repair Act
January 19, 2023
More on NY’s Digital Fair Repair Act
          By special report on January 6, 2023 I alerted you to the first, and apparently only legislation, dealing with Right to Repair, which was enacted into law in New York.  On January 9, 2023 The Wall Street Journal reported that machinery manufacturer Deere & CO entered into a deal with the American Farm Bureau Federation whereby Deere will allow owners and independent repair shops to repair Deere equipment.  The impetus was the implementation of high-tech equipment and software and sensors in farm equipment that made repairs costly.  Owners and independent repair shops believe they can make repairs cheaper but need the tools and repair manuals that the manufacturer made available only to authorized dealers.
          Sound familiar?
          But here’s the interesting thing about this deal.  According to the article, since 2021 the Biden administration has pushed for tractor makers to make it easier for farmers and independent repair shops to repair equipment.  Here’s the kicker:  The deal with Deere was a private agreement by this manufacturer and it’s conditional on the American Farm Bureau Federation from seeking to advance legislation or regulation for right to repair on a state or federal level. The organization agrees not to introduce, promote or support such legislation and it does Deere can withdraw from the Right to Repair Agreement.
          There are many alarm companies who “inherit” alarm systems that they cannot repair.  This is particular prevalent with fire alarm and arises when there is a take-over of an alarm system or one alarm company buys accounts from another alarm company.  It may be an issue with security equipment as well though that has not come to my attention. 
          No doubt courts and the New York Attorney General [who is the only one who can enforce compliance with New York’s Digital Fair Repair Act] will have to interpret the statute regarding the language excluding certain equipment for emergency response, but while they are busy interpreting New York’s law look for other states to enact similar though certainly not identical legislation.  Whether we see it on a federal level is another issue. 
          I still think it’s going to be interesting how this affects the alarm manufacturers’ “authorized dealer or distributorship” programs.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301