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Topic: Right to Repair bills
From: Saco, Maine
Registered: May 99
posted 05-25-2006 04:04 PM
From Hemmings email:
A fight over your Right to Repair
A fight is brewing over a bill we thought was dead: HR 2048, the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2005.
HR 2048 was introduced in May of 2005 by Representative Joe Barton from the Texas 6th, and with bipartisan support from 102 cosponsors, was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about 10 days later.
The legislation will provide car owners with the right to decide where and how they have their vehicle serviced, whether it is a new car dealer or independent service facility. Under the bill, the Federal Trade Commission would develop regulations requiring car companies to share with the independent service industry and car owners the same information and tools that they make available to their franchised dealers. That means things like OEM part numbers, which manufacturers can currently hold onto for seven years. The bill provides copyright and intellectual property protections for manufacturers, while at the same time giving the FTC strong enforcement provisions.
A year has passed, and we thought we'd heard the last of it, but industry forces are gathering on both sides. We haven't heard from the manufacturers directly, but you can bet they're fighting tooth and nail to hold onto lucrative parts deals. We have heard from the Automotive Service Association, which is launching a campaign to deny access to this information to anyone but their shops. On the other side is the huge Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, who doesn't care who buys parts, and wants you to have every opportunity to mess up your mass airflow sensor yourself.
The ASA's campaign has already had some success, lobbying Barton to remove provisions from the original bill that would have given car owners broader rights and protections. We hear that further debate on the hill may be coming up soon.
The weakened text of the bill can be found at thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.2048:, and a list of its sponsors at thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR02048:@@@P:If your rep is on there, we urge you to visit www.house.gov/writerep/ and let them know how you feel.
- By David B. Traver Adolphus
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