New York decides not to tinker with vendor lock-down for now

'Fair Repair Act' returned in its original packaging

Another US state has missed a legislative deadline to make third-party tech product repair legal.

New York state was considering a law requiring companies to publish things like repair manuals, but it didn't make it to a vote in the current legislative session.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Phil Boyle, and was similar to laws that have withered on the vine in other states. As The Chicago Tribune reports, the Fair Repair Act would require both repair instructions and spare parts be available.

Such a law really only needs to pass in one US state for “fixability” to become the norm, the Tribune notes.

Boyle also said the law would be an environmental plus, since making minor fixes accessible and affordable would keep a device in a user's hands longer, rather than sending them back to retail for a replacement.

Tech companies – the Tribune names Apple, but it's not the only outfit that wants to keep the repair business in-house – rationalise their repair rules “use genuine parts grounds”.

There's also the more aggressive stance taken by the auto industry, which wraps up its vehicle computers in warranty and intellectual property laws.

Although the Library of Congress's latest DMCA rules are pro-tinkering, doing so without repair manuals or spare parts is a not-for-the-fainthearted exercise.

The New York bill won't get a chance to go back onto the agenda until 2017. ®

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