Buy it, own it you do! “YODA” is back!

Blogging about Congress and legislation can sometimes be, well, a little challenging.  How to make it exciting, engaging . . . or at least interesting to a non- policy wonk audience?  Then there are those happy times when we here at District Dispatch just can’t improve on the original. This week, was one of those times. Reps.

Yoda's face on the hundred dollar bill


Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO) have teamed up for the third Congress in a row to re- re-introduce their signature bill. This key copyright legislation will assure that when consumers in the age of the Internet of Things buy devices with built-in software – everything from cars, to tractors to toasters – they won’t have to get permission from the owner of that software to sell or give away the device in which it’s embedded. The bill’s called . . .  wait for it . . . the You Own Devices Act (yup, “YODA”) and on Rep. Farenthold’s own press release, improve we cannot:

Congressman Farenthold, Polis reintroduce YODA Act

Improve copyright system, YODA would

WASHINGTON, February 7, 2017 | Elizabeth Peace (202-225-7742) | 0 comments

Today, introduced was You Own Devices Act (YODA), by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). In 2015, was when the pair introduced the legislation together.

Allowing essential software to travel with physical devices, like computers, YODA will do. By modernizing copyright law in this way, a consumer can sell, lease or give away a computer, as well as the licenses for essential software that allows the computer to operate, it will.

“The YODA bill, today, I did file,” said Congressman Farenthold. “YODA simply states that your device belongs to you. If you wish to sell that 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.”

“Old copyright laws stifle innovation and block consumers from being able to access more affordable products and technology,” said Congressman Polis. “YODA will cut red tape and allow people to sell or give away devices without being strangled by paperwork and empty legal threats.”

Last session, waylaid in committee YODA was.

About Adam Eisgrau

Adam Eisgrau is a 30-year veteran of Washington legal practice, government service, public and private sector lobbying, and strategic communications and policy consulting. Having originally served as its first Legislative Counsel from 1995 to 1999 handling digital copyright matters, Adam rejoined ALA’s Washington Office in September 2014 as Managing Director of the Office of Government Relations. His issue portfolio currently includes Copyright, Privacy & Surveillance, Cybersecurity, Encryption and Data Security. Adam received a BA in American Studies from Dartmouth College and his JD from Harvard Law School.

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