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Right to Repair

Repair Cafes:The Beating Heart Of The Right To Repair Movement

In the age of two-day shipping and planned obsolescence, we’ve come to look at the things we own as largely disposable, with devastating consequences for our environment, our communities and ourselves. Recent EPA estimates put the total generation of municipal solid waste at roughly 292.4 million tons each year. In a little over a generation, we’ve transformed from a society of “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make it Do, or Do Without” to a society of “Dig, Burn, Dump.” Gone are the days of family heirlooms and the passing down of gifts from generation to generation.

The Right To Repair And Other Forms Of Peer Creativity

Can creativity flourish and remain within the control of commoners? Or will businesses inevitably capture creativity and convert it into private property to make money?  Copyright and trademark law are certainly designed for those purposes. They presume a market identity for creators of art, software, and new knowledge. And in fact, the corporate world routinely vacuums up creativity that's developed through commoning – images, music, know-how, social sharing. Yet history tells another story. It shows that creativity naturally thrives in commons, and need not enter the marketplace to find support or fruition.

We Have To Find A Way To Use Things Longer

Wheelchair users in Colorado now can fix their own chairs when they break. It did take a new law, allowing them to access the parts, tools and diagnostics they need to do that—for the same reasons that, for years, John Deere argued that farmers don’t really own the tractors they buy. Because those tractors carry computer codes that are proprietary, farmers just have an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” As our next guest has said, the notion of actually owning the things you buy has become revolutionary, if ownership includes your right to modify or repair those things. But it’s a revolution that is underfoot. So let’s catch up.

Colorado Passes First Tractor Right To Repair Law

Colorado will be the first state to require farm equipment makers to share or sell all the tools, manuals, and software that farmers need to fix their tractors and combines. So far this legislative session, 16 other states have introduced similar agriculture right-to-repair bills as farmers criticize the ways manufacturers monopolize their product repair, increasing maintenance costs and risking debilitating delays. Repair advocates hope that success in Colorado will prompt more state-level laws or a national resolution, whether that’s a federal law, antitrust enforcement action, or an improved memorandum of understanding with manufacturers.

We Should Be Able To Fix Our Stuff Ourselves

From IPhones To John Deere Equipment, Corporations Shouldn’t Be Holding Needed Repairs Hostage. Think back to your flip-phone or bulky tube TV of yesteryear. When they were on the fritz, you didn’t necessarily fix them yourself, but you may have turned to a local repair shop to get things sorted. Today, most of the repair options that await (when your iPhone starts glitching, for example) are deeply unpleasant. After trekking out to an Apple Store, an “authorized genius” might ask for an exorbitant fee or, more often, just tell you to buy the newer model. John Deere restricts how its tractors can be repaired, hospital equipment manufacturers don’t share their repair documentation, and on. Right-to-repair advocates point out this situation is an intentional, controlled part of a planned obsolescence that creates waste and drives up repair fees. Beyond the cost to your pocketbook, churning through electronic devices takes a huge toll on the environment in the form of tens of millions of tons of electronic waste each year.

Albany Passes ‘Right To Repair’ Law For Electronics

It may soon be easier to get your busted iPhone fixed. Under a bill passed by the state legislature last week, digital electronics manufacturers – such as Apple or Samsung – will be required to make repair instructions and parts available to both consumers and independent technicians. The “right to repair” legislation, which still needs to be signed into law by the governor, is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States. It follows a year-long campaign by tech and environmental activists, who accused manufacturers of intentionally restricting the ability to repair their products – a strategy known as planned obsolescence. “This legislation ends what is a monopoly on the repair market by corporate actors and incentivizes competition within the industry,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, the bill’s sponsor.
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