Public Knowledge Welcomes YODA Bill to Restore Ownership Rights in our Digital Devices

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Today, Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO) reintroduced the You Own Devices Act (YODA), a bill that prevents copyrights in embedded software from being used to restrict consumers’ resale and repair of their own devices. Public Knowledge advocates for a fair copyright system that enables Americans to own the digital products they pay for.

The following can be attributed to Raza Panjwani, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“It should be obvious that when you buy something, you own it, and that when you own something, you’re free to sell it, lend it, or give it away. That basic bargain is being undermined thanks to restrictive licenses attached to the software that is being embedded with increasing frequency in everything from watches to tractors.

“Copyright law is a tempting tool for manufacturers who want to engage in anti-competitive behavior, like using restrictive software licenses to cut off the second-hand market for devices of all sizes, from smartphones to servers. This bill blocks a glaring abuse of the law by ensuring that owners have the right to sell their devices and the embedded code necessary for operation, without getting ambushed by fine print.

“We hope this bill represents a step towards fully protecting traditional ownership rights in a digital world.”

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