To date in 2020, 27 state legislatures have introduced bills that would require manufacturers to release software information to allow independent retailers to repair electronic products. These efforts – commonly referred to as “right to repair” – are opposed by a wide range of stakeholders, including the recreational boating industry, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
"If successful, these measures would put boat manufacturers at risk on several fronts," NMMA said. "Granting consumers access to embedded software code could result in unsafe operation and improper emissions. Additionally, providing consumers with access to embedded software code would put the industry at risk of loss of innovation and ability to protect information specific to their brand."
NMMA said the association, along with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, is working with a broad coalition of other manufacturers to oppose these bills.
In Maine, LD1977 would require manufacturers to make all embedded code available for independent repair retailers and prohibit manufacturers from limiting access to diagnostic equipment and tools. NMMA submitted written testimony in advance of the Joint Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business’s meeting on January 23, 2020.
In Virginia, HB68 would prohibit manufacturers from adding in codes to make their engine or equipment tamper-proof. HB68 goes against EPA mandates within the Clean Air Act specific to emissions. NMMA, MRAA, Volvo and the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association will submit testimony to the Virginia House Communications Technology and Innovation’s Sub-Committee on Technology and Innovation when the bill is assigned a hearing date.
NMMA said it will continue to engage on this issue and provide regular updates. For more information, please contact NMMA director of state government relations, Libby Yranski at firstname.lastname@example.org.