Massachusetts is about to fight a very important right-to-repair battle


Posts: 225   +47

Massachusetts' Digital Right to Repair act would require electronics manufacturers to make available diagnostic, service, and repair guides. Manufacturers would also be required to sell parts and tools required for service and repair, while also being prohibited from blocking repairs on a software or firmware level. Like past (failed) legislation, the bills cannot be misconstrued to force manufacturers to divulge trade secrets, or proprietary technology that isn't pursuant to service or repair.

The Digital Right to Repair act and its associated House and Senate bills have enjoyed bipartisan support, with 76 co-sponsors in the House and 27 in the Senate. Additionally, the legislation isn't unlike the automobile right-to-repair laws that Massachusetts unanimously passed in 2012 that carried nationwide implications for the auto repair industry. In 2014, the collective automobile industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding based on Massachusetts' laws, ensuring automobile manufacturers would honor the law in all 50 states.

If Massachusetts manages to pass its Digital Right to Repair legislation, it could have a similar effect with electronics manufacturers, who likely don't want to contend with different laws in different states.

Although lobbyists have repeatedly killed similar legislation across the country, right-to-repair advocates have been playing the long game. This year alone, 19 states have considered this type of legislation. While Massachusetts would be the first state to pass any sweeping repair laws of this kind, the pressure on tech companies has been mounting as right-to-repair has gained more traction. Apple -- who has been a staunch opponent of right to repair -- just recently made an unexpected shift in policy, no doubt due to the growing right-to-repair movement.

As right-to-repair has become more visible, it's attracted attention from both the FTC as well as presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have both signaled support for the movement. While right-to-repair may become a 2020 campaigning issue, there's hope that it may not have to.

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Posts: 931   +1,307
I always wonder why people who live in USA claim that is the best county in the world when in reality it has to be one of the worst, you cant even fix your phone without going through all this hassle......


Posts: 1,866   +797
Companies can't call themselves environmentally friendly if they arbitrarily impose obsolescence and block repairs of their products. If they want to remain profitable, then there's innovation and diversification.


Posts: 2,855   +2,226
The way I look at it...if you buy a phone or other electronics device, while it is under "contract" or warranty, I ain't gonna touch it. Once the warranty/contract expires, I feel it is my "property" and I'll do with it as I see fit. If companies don't like it, tough. I've been screwing with electronics since the early 70's. Tubes to transistors to IC's to SMD's. I've fixed many smartphones. It's not that big of a deal to me, as long as I can get the replacement parts.