"You bought it, you own it." That principle has guided ownership rights for hundreds of years. But embedded software is muddying the definition of ownership—and getting in the way of reuse, repair, and resale efforts.
You may own the hardware, but manufacturers often claim that the software inside of your product isn't yours at all. You purchased the physical good—but you are merely licensing the software. This claim allows manufacturers to retain unprecedented control over goods—long after you bought and paid for it.
Manufacturer policies on software and firmware access have killed many used equipment markets and diminished used equipment value internationally.
These tactics amount to little more than a monopoly. The Repair Association rigorously defends the right of an owner to resell their equipment. And we are pursuing and promoting policy change through legislation at both the state and the federal level. If we can change policies, we can restore the used marketplace to full function.
Digital First Sale Doctrine
The courts have long held up the right of the owner to resell physical goods—it's called the "first sale doctrine." The Repair Association supports ongoing efforts by Congress to establish a Digital First Sale Doctrine—including the You Own Devices Act (YODA), which would restore full ownership rights to purchasers of digital equipment.
Help us promote these and other policies that preserve equipment value.
Photo Credit: Monika Rae Photography