Tuesday, January 10, 2023

New York State Legislation Makes Available Tools and Parts to Enable Consumer to Fix Their Own Electronic Devices

 On Dec. 28, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul "signed the Digital Fair Repair Act (S4104-A/A7006-B) into law making New York the first state in the nation to guarantee the right to repair, protecting consumers from anticompetitive efforts to limit repair." Full-text of the bill is available on the State Senate's website. The act takes effect one year after it became law. According to Consumer Reports, this act only applies "to digital devices that are sold or used in New York state after July 1, 2023."  So this does not, for example, apply to farm equipment, which was the subject of my last post. Yes, this legislation is a step forward, but it is only a step. We need broader right to repair guarantees.

Article: Deere gives farmers long-sought ability to repair their own tractors

Good news - John Deere has bowed to pressure and will let farmers repair John Deere equipment themselves.

US farmers will have the right to repair tractors and other agricultural equipment from John Deere without having to use the manufacturer’s own parts and facilities, under an agreement the company signed Sunday with farm industry representatives. 

Yes, this is good news for farmers because they need to be able to repair their equipment quickly, especially during the growing season or their crops will be lost.

Bad news?

First, this is for farmers and not for other folks who might own John Deere equipment. (I owned a John Deere garden tractor many years ago and this would not have covered me.)

Second, this MOU is not permanent and can be retracted.

Third, in it the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) "agrees to encourage state Farm Bureau organizations to recognize the commitments made in this MOU and refrain from introducing, promoting, or supporting federal or state "Right to Repair" legislation that imposes obligations beyond the commitments in this MOU. In the event any state or federal legislation or regulation relating to issues covered by this MOU and/or "Right to Repair" is enacted, each of AFBF and Manufacturer reserve the right, upon fifteen (15) days written notice, to withdraw from this MOU." So this agreement turns Farm Bureau organizations into advocates against the right to repair.

It will be interesting to see how this agreement impacts non-farmers and the right to repair movement. Let's hope that the right to repair movement ignores any pressure this MOU might create on it.


Thursday, January 05, 2023

New from Canada: Canada extends copyright protection for 20 more years under new trade obligation

In keeping with a trade deal made with the U.S., Canada has extended copyright protection for "any author, composer or screenwriter whose works would have been added to the public domain between now and 2043, meaning for 20 years nothing new will be added to the public domain in Canada."(Global News) Tech Dirt argues that instead of extending copyright protections, government should be decreasing the length of time a work is protected. Clearly, that isn't something that creatives - like those who make millions on their works - want.


Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Internet Archive celebrates Public Domain Day in 2023 (Jan. 19 & 20)

Below is an invitation from the Internet Archive (IA) to celebration Public Domain Day with them. The events are open to all and are free to attend. I've been to a few online IA events and they definitely know how to celebrate!

People dancing with the text "the best things in life are free"

The moon belongs to everyone, so says the 1927 hit musical composition, “The Best Things In Life Are Free.” We agree! In January of 2023, a treasure trove of new cultural works will become as free as the moon and the stars, and we at Internet Archive, Creative Commons and many other leaders from the open world plan to throw a party to celebrate!

Next year, works published in 1927 will join the myriad creative building blocks of our shared culture heritage. The public domain will grow richer with books from authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf, silent film classics like the controversial The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson and Fritz Lang’s dystopian Metropolis, and snappy musical compositions like You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream.

You can welcome new public domain works and party with us two ways:

Join us for a virtual party on January 19, 2023 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern time where we will celebrate our theme, The Best Things In Life Are Free, with a host of entertainers, historians, librarians, academics, activists and other leaders from the open world, including additional sponsoring organizations Library Futures, SPARC, Authors Alliance, Public Knowledge, and the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain. REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT HERE!

The Internet Archive will also host an in-person Film Remix Contest Screening Party on January 20, 2023 at 6pm at 300 Funston Ave in San Francisco. We will celebrate 1927 as founding year of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while watching this year’s Public Domain Day Remix Contest winning entries, eating popcorn and ice cream. Come dressed in your best golden age of Hollywood inspired costume and walk the red carpet with the Internet Archive as we celebrate the entry of “talkies” into the public domain. REGISTER FOR THE IN-PERSON PARTY IN SAN FRANCISCO HERE!