States Weigh Laws Requiring Manufacturers to Make Electronic Devices Repairable

Posted: April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Source: Motherboard

The right to repair movement is spreading. In recent weeks legislators in Iowa, Missouri, and North Carolina have introduced bills that would make it easier for you to fix your electronics, joining eight other states that introduced right-to-repair legislation earlier this year.

The bills would require manufacturers to sell replacement parts to consumers and independent repair companies and would also require them to open source diagnostic manuals. It would also give independent repair professionals the ability to bypass software locks that prevent repairs, allowing them to return a gadget back to its factory settings.

Right to repair advocates are looking at this movement as a perhaps decade-long process that will require a grassroots movement of consumers to push back against the long-entrenched repair monopolies of companies like Apple, John Deere, and video game console manufacturers.

It’s heartening, then, that the bills in Iowa, Missouri, and North Carolina were introduced without the help of Repair.org, the trade organization of independent repair professionals that is pushing for these laws elsewhere. While Repair.org has been heavily involved in crafting legislation in places like New York, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, the group wasn’t even aware that the movement had spread to three new states until last week.

“It came out of the blue to me,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the organization, told me. “We did nothing and they just popped up, which validates that this is an important problem for a lot of people who have been independently looking for a solution to repair monopolies.”

“The fact that there were eight states that had already filed bills seems to have served as an inspiration,” she added.

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Source: There Are Now 11 States Considering Bills to Protect Your ‘Right to Repair’ Electronics

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold Tool Users via photopin (license)

Comments
  1. Kenneth T. says:

    Once upon a time, repair shops were everywhere, then we became a “throw-away” society. It is far past time that we started to wear things out, instead of buying new at the first sign of age – or when the next model comes around.

    • Kenneth, here in New Plymouth lots of young people are retraining in these old skills, including cooking and sewing, largely through our time bank, which we used to trade services.

  2. I had the same thought, Kenneth. “Throw-away” is good for manufacturers, but bad for our planet in so many ways.

  3. My understanding, Rosaliene, is that people had to be trained to throw things away – through the public relations and advertising industry – and that it was really hard to break old habits (of thrift and making do) that were handed down over generations. Now that so many people are out of work or stuck in minimum wage jobs, we have no choice but to re-learn some of the old habits.

  4. Hell, I used to love trying to repair things–admittedly some were beyond repair, like cheap radios and the like, but being able to get in them and take a peek at how they worked really was fun. And sometimes we could repair things, like maybe there was a worn out rubber ring that a new rubber band would fix. I fixed a tape playing radio that way and it lasted another year (shows you how long ago that was). Hell, my needlenose pliers and my screwdrivers are very much my friends. I’ve become Ms. fix it around the office because let’s face it–plug-in pencil sharpeners are damned expensive. We have too much waste, and it’s beyond stupid. We need to be able to fix stuff ourselves.

  5. You and me, too, Chatty. I learned to repair things from my grandfather. This is what I really like about coming to live in New Zealand. They have a saying here that there’s nothing you can’t fix with a little duct tape and number 8 wire. Because they were so isolated (here in the South Pacific) from their trading partners, Kiwis had to become very self sufficient. They tend to be very inventive and are fantastic at fixing things.

    Thanks for your comment.

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