Monday, February 7, 2022

Review - HR 6566 Introduced – Right-to-Repair

Last week, Rep Jones (D,NY) introduced HR 6566, the Freedom to Repair Act of 2022. The bill would amend 17 USC 1201 to establish a new class of exemptions to the prohibition against the circumvention of copyright protection and management systems for the diagnosis, maintenance, and repair of certain digital electronic equipment.

Moving Forward

Both Jones and his sole cosponsor {Rep Spartz (R,IN)} are members of the House Judiciary Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there may be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. There is sure to be some opposition to this bill from supporters of the software industry and some equipment manufacturers, but I suspect that there would be sufficient bipartisan support to see this bill pass out of Committee. I do not think, however, that that support would be sufficient to move the bill to the floor of the House under the suspension of the rules process, since that would require a super majority for passage.

I do not think that this bill is ‘important enough’ to see it considered under the regular order. It could however be considered as an amendment to some other bill, either from the floor or through the committee process.


The right-to-repair movement is gaining steam in many sectors of the economy. This may still be too early in the growth of that movement for this bill to make it through the legislative process, but it is certainly heartening to see it being offered.

Having said that, it disappoints me to see that the crafters of the bill ignored the fact that the lack of definitions for certain key terms (‘diagnosis’, ‘maintenance’, and ‘repair’ in particular) used in this bill make the provisions so vague as to gut the legitimate protections of the intellectual property rights of the developers and vendors protected by §1201. I do not have any definitions to offer at this time, but something will have to be done along those lines before industry objections to legislation of this type can be overcome.


For more details about this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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