Letters to the Editor

Fair Repair Legislation is Not a Farmer-led Initiative

Letters may be emailed to edit@dtn.com or mailed to Greg Horstmeier, 9110 West Dodge Road, Omaha, NE 68114.


To the Editor:

As the Executive Director of The Repair Association, the organization that started the state legislative push for Right to Repair/Fair Repair, I can correct the record, (see Letter to Editor, "Fair Repair Legislation is Not a Farmer-led Initiative", https://www.dtnpf.com/…) for readers.

It is true that farmers don't lead our organization, but when John Deere famously told the U.S. Copyright Office in 2015 that "Farmers don't own their equipment, they only have a license to use it" (see WIRED https://www.wired.com/…), we've had many requests for help from farmers because fixing tech parts is the same regardless of shape, size, or application.

AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers) and EDA (Equipment Dealers Association) have been fighting against their own customers since 2014. Both tar farmers as wanting the ability to repair their stuff so they can pollute the environment, hurt themselves and their neighbors and steal (intellectual property) IP or trade secrets. This is pure bunk and farmers are correct to be insulted. The bills we support are very careful to protect manufacturer rights.

Copyright Law specifically allows for repair. Patents are stolen by repair as they are already public. Trade Secrets are useless for repair and legislation disclaims any requirements. Owners are fully responsible for their own actions and mistakes -- including death and dismemberment. Every contract of sale disclaims all these liabilities to the limits of state law. OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are just as protected as they have ever been.

I suggest readers remind themselves that once we buy something -- anything -- it's ours unless we agree to a contract agreeing otherwise. I've yet to see an End User License Agreement (EULA) that didn't take away an important right of ownership. These pseudo contracts are the very definition of unfair and deceptive and as such, are appropriate for legislative control.

Does anyone believe that unfair and deceptive contracts are OK for farm equipment or anything else? Those companies who are honest and clear with their customers have nothing to fear from "Fair Repair" or "Right to Repair" legislation.

-- Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director, The Repair Association