Federal Court Awards Record Verdict Upholding Right to Repair


 
In the digital world - many products come with password protected settings (locks) intended to keep unauthorized parties from accessing the machine.  Locks come with the equipment, and for most equipment the buyer sets their own passwords and manages their own security -  but some manufacturers insist on keeping the keys. Why doesn't the owner get the keys with the purchase?
 
Manufacturers that keep the keys provide reasons such as: preventing abuse of "their" equipment and delivering their version of "Excellent Customer Service" but the real advantage is that keeping control of service access settings allows them to command high-margin services agreements.
 
The Courts have this week affirmed the right of the owner to control the passwords and other service maintenance settings in the specific case of AVAYA v Continuant.  Having already been found in violation of anti-trust law by setting out to monopolize post-warranty repair, AVAYA was specifically required to allow Continuant and any other owners of AVAYA equipment to use service maintenance passwords without being in violation of any copyright law.
 
Whew. If the Court had found otherwise—we might all be required to leave our car hoods locked and only the dealer might open the hood.