Buyer Right to EMC Storage Hardware May Soon Extend to Linked Software
Experienced storage equipment dealers, like Tab Data Systems, can make the acquisition of legacy EMC storage hardware a fairly straightforward process. However, some manufacturers have made it difficult to buy or sell used hardware by taking advantage of a loophole in the first sale doctrine.
The issue occurs when software critical to the operation of a hardware system is prohibited for resale by restrictive licensing terms. This makes the hardware itself difficult or impossible to resell because the software needed to run it cannot be included in the sale.
This resale problem often leaves those who purchase a product with a restrictive license one of only two options for disposing of the equipment. They can either choose to send the equipment off to a landfill or return it to the manufacturer, who owns the only right to resell it to someone else.
A new bill championed by U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold (R-TX) is set to change this, however. Announced on September 19, 2014, the You Own Devices Act (YODA) will deal a final blow to the limiting practice of putting restrictive licenses on software critical to the operation of any computer hardware. In a statement released on the introduction of the bill, Rep. Farenthold asserted:
“… YODA would simply state that if you want to sell, lease, or give away your device, the software that enables it to work is transferred along with it, and that any right you have to security and bug fixing of that software is transferred as well.
“This straightforward and tightly-focused bill reinforces our First Sale rights and preserves our ability to truly own the products that we buy. It is in the same spirit as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act which Congress passed and the President signed this past summer, protecting a consumer’s ability to use her phone on the network of her choice. YODA is a step forward to ensuring that we do not trade the technological advances of the digital revolution and the Internet of Things for our ability to own the devices we buy.”
Rep. Farenthold’s bill has been welcomed by such organizations as the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (ASCDI-NATD). ASCDI-NATD President Joe Marion has called on the organization’s members to support the bill, which will drastically reduce the number of hoops dealers will have to jump through when procuring or reselling used equipment.
For EMC controllers & systems dealers, like Tab Data Systems, the approval of the new legislation will bring with it a sigh of relief, as relaxed software licensing terms will make trading legacy hardware simpler for both dealers and their clients alike.
(Source: Bill Introduced in Congress to Let You Actually Own Things, Even if They Contain Software, Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 19, 2014)