Sometimes doing the right thing comes easy, sometimes it takes a lot of courage and sometimes you just have no choice.
For 35 years, the ASCDI had done a good job identifying those companies who were ethical in our industry. If you wanted to find a quality IT reseller or service company, you had to look no further than the ASCDI. We provided an on-line trading platform and meetings around the globe. We were THE place you could find good resellers and good products and that was our mission in life.
Sometime after 2008 things changed. It started with a Cornell student from Thailand who wanted to sell text books and was sued by the book publisher. A case that made its way all the way to the US Supreme Court. At issue was a decision that could have allowed only allow brand holders (manufacturers) to resell their products in the United States. The EU already had a law in place that only permitted brand holders to import products into the EU for resale. Some manufacturers were taking independent maintainers to court claiming that no one had a right to maintain “their” equipment. Customs officials around the globe were being told that used, stolen, counterfeit and parallel imports (grey) were all synonyms. Some radical brand holders started to abuse their intellectual property, copyright and trademark rights at the expense of consumers, resellers and service companies.
The ASCDI Board of Directors made a courageous and difficult decision. We would step out of our comfort zone. No longer was it good enough for us just to be an organization that identified good companies, held good networking events and provided a trading platform. We would take a stand. We would face these issues head on. And that is exactly what the ASCDI has did and continues to do. With our help, that Cornell student won his case in the Supreme Court and the course of the ASCDI was changed forever.
Our latest effort is a bill in the US Congress known as YODA. (You Own Devices Act). If a computer program enables a device to operate, YODA would let you transfer ownership of a copy of that computer program along with the device. The law would override any agreement to the contrary (like the one-sided and abusive End-User License Agreements commonly included with such software). Also, if you have a right to receive security or bug fixes, that right passes to the person who received the device from you. We are also doing what we can to encourage EU to finally open up “Fortress Europe” and end the monopoly that trademark holders have for the resale of technology.
Courage is sometimes very contagious. After the ASCDI Board decision other organizations such as SIA/DRTR, UNEDA and FREE ICT EU joined in the battle and we commend them for doing so. We especially want to applaud U.S. House of Representatives Blake Farenthold and Jared Polis, sponsors of the YODA bill, for their courage in taking a stand that will protect all Americans’ rights to do what we wish with the products we own.