YODA Back, It Is: Law To Let You Actually Own Your Devices Even When Copyright Gets In The Way

from the a-good-start dept

Last year, we wrote about Rep. Blake Farenthold introducing a small, but important piece of copyright legislation, the You Own Devices Act (YODA), which just says that if you buy some piece of computerized equipment, you can sell it with any included software, without having to get permission from the software provider. As we noted, the reality is that this is just making it clear that the first sale doctrine applies to computer equipment too -- which shouldn't need a new law, but some tech companies (especially in the networking space) feel otherwise.

Farenthold has now reintroduced YODA, this time with Rep. Jared Polis as a sponsor as well (giving the bill that necessary "bi-partisan" shine). It's unfortunate that these kinds of bills are even necessary, but such is the state of copyright laws today, that they often mean the devices you buy, you don't even really own.

Also, kudos to Farenthold for playing on the YODA name in his tweet announcing the new version of the bill:

Filed Under: blake farenthold, copyright, devices, dmca, first sale, jared polis, ownership, software, yoda


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  • identicon
    Agonistes, 12 Feb 2015 @ 9:22pm

    Hmmm...

    Good this could be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 1:04am

    Awesome this is. A mechanism to prevent further invasion we need. Brick your device remotely the companies still can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    IP shill, 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:19am

    How dare the republic get some influence over politics!! WE PAY GOOD MONEY TO BUY LAWS AND NOW THE LAWS MIGHT ACTUALLY SLIGHTLY SHIFT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST!!! Mike, everyone just wants everything for free and this is stealing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 3:22am

    time about, this is!

    i cannot believe it has taken so long to get back in the offing. even worse, i cannot believe it was needed in the first place! why the hell should anything you have purchased, not be yours? worse still, continue to be owned by and controlled by the section of the Entertainment Industry who not only sold it, but did whatever they possibly could to get people to buy it? and even more so if the original purchaser wanted to sell it? the world, thanks to American politicians stupidity, has made the whole world one big entertainment industries plaything!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 4:03am

    Don't get too excited as you're not over the fence yet. There's still plenty of time for industry reps to promise a few extra cushy jobs in exchange for shelving this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 5:05am

    Does mean that if I buy a "modded" game console, I have the right to legally sell it without first wiping the firmware?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      Think beyond games. Decades from now a wealthy man will have a surgically implanted device that cleans his bloodstream and supplies all the drugs, hormones and whatnot needed to greatly prolong his life.

      He will be murdered for this device, by someone who couldn't otherwise afford it.

      This legislation means that police won't be able to pile on charges related to the unauthorized transfer of the firmware. Why does Mike Masnick hate copyright?

      More seriously though, suppose the device has parameters custom-tailored for the rich guy - burned into the firmware to prevent hacking. If transferring altered firmware is illegal, when the rich guy finally dies, the device couldn't be donated - and the parameters altered for - a new and less wealthy user.

      With wearable health monitoring tech already in use, this is rapidly leaving the realm of science fiction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:58am

        Re: Re:

        Decades from now a wealthy man will have a surgically implanted device that cleans his bloodstream and supplies all the drugs, hormones and whatnot needed to greatly prolong his life.

        I would guess the period of time that such tech will be available only to the rich will be fairly brief. That tends to be the way of things, and such trends are generally accelerating.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:09am

        Re: Re:

        "He will be murdered for this device, by someone who couldn't otherwise afford it. This legislation means that police won't be able to pile on charges related to the unauthorized transfer of the firmware. Why does Mike Masnick hate copyright?"

        So I guess murder in the future will carry no charge huh? Get your head out of your ass, murder will still be murder, and being able to pile on bs charges would make no difference to a case like this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 5:31am

    Makers beware

    While the title of this bill seems to imply it, I don't think there's a provision that legalizes altering firmware on a device you own. This seems to be focused solely on being able to resell your property along with whatever original manufacturer's programming is included to make it work.

    We'd still need specific exemptions to the DMCA from the Librarian of Congress to mod a game console, thermostat, refrigerator, etc. Or we'd need another law that generally allows decoupling the provided firmware from the device.

    Someone please tell me if I'm wrong here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 7:17am

      Re: Makers beware

      While the title of this bill seems to imply it, I don't think there's a provision that legalizes altering firmware on a device you own. This seems to be focused solely on being able to resell your property along with whatever original manufacturer's programming is included to make it work.

      Yes, you're right, but baby steps...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 8:34am

    It's unfortunate that these kinds of bills are even necessary, but such is the state of copyright laws today, that they often mean the devices you buy, you don't even really own.

    Tell me again why this bill is necessary. That link to bizjournal tells the story of of an outfit that fought back and won treble damages. Isn't that setting legal precedent? Is the US legal system today so fucked up that you now need an individual bill for every possible action not yet specifically allowed by another existing bill?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      The legal system is so fucked that you can't really use it unless you have significant funding. Saying "but you could win a lawsuit" isn't really saying much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      Yeah, that precedent just means that if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars and years to spend on a similar lawsuit, you'll probably win. It doesn't mean you won't be sued or won't have to defend yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:00am

    Turning a blind eye

    Without Harry Reid in charge of the Senate, this just might make it through. First sale doctrine should apply to just about anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2015 @ 11:21am

    Copyright infringement?

    Didn't Rep. Blake Farenthold just commit copyright infringement with his name and tweet? And don't give me anything about "fair use" you pirating thieves! He must face the full penalty of law, and by that I mean Disney should be allowed to execute him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 13 Feb 2015 @ 2:53pm

    Better go with the insanity defense.

    I think if I were a child in the US today, I'd have to sue my parents for conceiving me. This having to pass a law to make something legal in order to head off lawsuits is crazy. When did the Law Outlawing Poor And/Or Unemployed Lawyers get passed?

    You're all nuts. Welcome to the twilight zone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2015 @ 3:38am

    "Luke didn't have to re-license Anakin's lightsaber, so why should you?"

    ROFL! Brilliant!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Emperor Dodd, 14 Feb 2015 @ 6:00am

    Foolish Rebels. Soon they will feel the power of the DARK SIDE!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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