28 March 2024

Good News Everyone!

Oregon's Gover has signed a right-to-repair law with a fabulous twist, it is the first in the nation that outlaws parts pairing.

Parts pairing is the use of digital signatures to prevent the re-use of parts and the use of compatible 3rd party parts.

Printer ink and HP are a classic example of using this tactic to maximize their profits at the expense of their users:

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek today signed the state's Right to Repair Act, which will push manufacturers to provide more repair options for their products than any other state so far.

The law, like those passed in New York, California, and Minnesota, will require many manufacturers to provide the same parts, tools, and documentation to individuals and repair shops that they provide to their own repair teams.

But Oregon's bill goes further, preventing companies from implementing schemes that require parts to be verified through encrypted software checks before they will function. Known as parts pairing or serialization, Oregon's bill, SB 1596, is the first in the nation to target that practice. Oregon State Senator Janeen Sollman (D) and Representative Courtney Neron (D) sponsored and pushed the bill in the state senate and legislature. 


Oregon's bill isn't stronger in every regard. For one, there is no set number of years for a manufacturer to support a device with repair support. Parts pairing is prohibited only on devices sold in 2025 and later. And there are carve-outs for certain kinds of electronics and devices, including video game consoles, medical devices, HVAC systems, motor vehicles, and—as with other states—"electric toothbrushes."

This is a major step forward.

Unfortunately, the DMCA and WIPO make further progress more difficult.


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