Friday, July 30, 2021

Biden and FTC on Right to Repair

Clare Duffy:

President Joe Biden on Friday signed a sweeping executive order aimed at promoting competition in the US economy. It includes a provision directing the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules preventing manufacturers from imposing restrictions on independent device repair shops and DIY repairs. While cellphone makers aren’t the only ones facing criticism for obstructing repairs, the order specifically calls them out for practices that make repairs “more costly and time consuming.”

Lauren Goode (via Hacker News):

[The] Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to enforce laws around the Right to Repair, thereby ensuring that US consumers will be able to repair their own electronic and automotive devices.


See the section titled “What the Magnuson-Moss Act Does Not Require” of the FTC’s “Businessperson’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law” to understand why this is not even close to “enforcing right to repair”. Aside from the fact that the FTC can’t enforce a right to repair law that doesn’t exist, the promise to enforce the Magnuson-Moss Act doesn’t even scratch the surface of what right to repair aims to accomplish. For example, farmers who have famously campaigned for right to repair for years (decades?) aren’t covered by the Act because their equipment is for commercial, not consumer, use.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Beatrix Willius

The right to repair doesn't mean much when there is nothing to repair. The glue must go. Everything must be replaceable.

Kevin Schumacher

@Beatrix No, thank you. Mandate making parts available, do away with DMCA restrictions, great. But design by committee does not, and has never, worked.

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