When you buy something you naturally think that -- you know-- you own it. But when it comes to products that contain software you don\u2019t.\n\n\nAs bizarre as that sounds, it speaks to a serious issue: Consumers who buy a device that depends to some extent on software \u2013 whether it\u2019s a Kindle or a tractor \u2013 are subject to the whims of the company that developed and sold the software.\n\n\nThat odd and fundamentally unfair state of affairs is why two members of Congress \u2013 a Democrat and a Republican \u2013 have teamed to reform a key provision of copyright law and give consumers the right to actually own stuff they\u2019ve paid for.\n\n\n\n[ The votes are in: Which mobile data provider is best? ]\n\n\n\n\u201cThe point is to make sure that people\u2019s rights stay intact in the digital space,\u201d says Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is supporting the Your Own Device Act. \n\n\nTo understand the problem, consider these egregious examples of how copyright law doesn\u2019t protect consumers when a product they buy software or a product containing software.\n\n\nIn 2009, Amazon had a beef with the publisher of 1984 and in keeping with the nature of Orwell\u2019s dystopian novel it deleted copies of the book from the Kindles of its customers. A few years later, owners of John Deere tractors were outraged to learn they couldn\u2019t repair them because they couldn\u2019t access the proprietary software embedded in their expensive vehicles.\n\n\n\n[ How to save on mobile plans: Your guide to 16 no-contract carriers ]\n\n\n\nEven more befuddling are provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that for a time made it illegal to jailbreak an iPhone. That changed in October of 2015 when the Library of Congress gave jailbreaking of smartphones, tablets and smart TVs a three-year exemption. But as an article in The Verge explained at the time, \u201cyou're still not allowed to jailbreak e-readers, handheld gaming devices, or laptops and desktop computers.\u201d\n\n\nThe sponsors of the cutely named YODA bill are Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) \u201c(YODA will allow) essential software to travel with physical devices, like computers.\u00a0 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," Polis said in a press release.\n\n\nA somewhat similar bill was introduced in 2014, but died in committee. Whether this version has a chance to succeed is far from certain. There\u2019s liable to be serious pushback from software companies and others who fear it could lead to piracy and weaken their control over products they\u2019ve developed.\n\n\nIt\u2019s important to note that YODA wouldn\u2019t make piracy legal. For example, a user could not download a movie or music and then post it on the Internet to sell, says Falcon. The user could, though, sell or give away the device containing that content with no penalty or interference.\n\n\nDigital rights management is a complicated and somewhat separate topic, though both derive from the principles of copyright law. YODA isn\u2019t aiming to make software free. It simply wants copyright law to reflect the reality of digital commerce and the right of consumers to use and dispose of their devices and content as they see fit.\n\n\nFinally, it\u2019s worth noting that a document you probably have never read codifies your lack of rights. It\u2019s a called a EULA, which stands for End User License Agreement. Pretty much every piece of software you buy or download for free contains one of these as do most digital devices. When you have time and don\u2019t mind being bored, read one of them and notice how many rights you give up when you click \u201caccept.\u201d\n\n\nTell your representatives to support YODA.