Digital Right to Repair Coalition releases Negotiation Techniques when buying Digital Technology:

by Jenn Cano on March 20, 2014

Negotiation Goals:

All hardware (tangible assets) must be fully transferrable as whole machines without any post-purchase involvement on the part of the OEM.

All intangibles (licenses, services, support) must be fully disclosed, separate, specific, and optional.

All tangible items shall be repairable by the owner at the total discretion of the owner.

Transferability:

Organizations and individuals do not own things they cannot resell, re-configure, repair, or re-use without the permission of the OEM. Post-purchase controls belong in licenses, not sales agreements. Controls being sought by OEMs are blurring the line between asset and license, and by design.

Buyers should always seek total clarity on the relationship between the vendor and the buyer with respect to the secondary market. Even if the buyer has no interest in buying or selling used machines, the presence of an open secondary market is essential to asset value, accounting, taxation, leasing, lending, and stockholder value.

Intangibles:

Mingling of tangible and intangible elements in the same agreement is damaging to the value of the asset. It is not possible to resell an asset that is tied to a license without the permission of the licensor. The license can be free, but it is a separate requirement that allows the licensor to control the asset.

Licenses must, therefore be both clear to the buyer and separate. Any hardware that is sold subject to a license for any code, even microcode and firmware manufactured into the chip, does not provide for an option to license such code, which makes it impossible to separate from the asset. The asset is then subordinate to the license and the license controls.

Repair:

OEMs that can control repair can dictate how long assets can be used (EOL and EOSL are arbitrary): how much the owner must pay for repair; and if used machines can be transferred to other buyers without additional fees. All of the preceding assists the OEM in pushing new product sales at ever faster timeframes - even if the older models could see years of productive use.

Independent or self-repair is the “glue” that holds the secondary market together. Without independent repair, which is not the same as “Authorized” repair, users remain at the mercy of the OEM to be reasonable, available, and fair. Monopolies of any kind are bad for consumers and repair is no different. READ THE REST OF DRTR’s NEGOTIATING PRINCIPLES

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