If you bought your equipment, you own it. Shouldn't you be able to repair that equipment as you see fit? Not if manufacturers have their way.
Some manufacturers claim that digital electronic parts contain “intellectual property” (IP). It's like hanging a "Do Not Touch" sign on a machine you legally purchased. Such claims allow manufacturers to limit access to electronic parts. Manufacturers built the machine and, because of IP, they can claim that they're the only ones allowed to repair it—an exclusive and lucrative market only available to the original manufacturer.
The Firmware Trap
The IP in question is a specific type of code, known as “Firmware.” Firmware comes with the machine and is inseparable from the hardware. If firmware is treated as IP, the owner is totally beholden to the manufacturer for permission to touch the firmware—for restoring lost firmware, applying patches and fixes, or even transferring the firmware in a hardware sale.
Treatment of firmware is the dividing line between a purchase and a license. All equipment buyers are entitled to know which parts of the purchase can be treated as assets, which require firmware be treated as part of the hardware, or which equipment elements are to be treated as licenses. Manufacturers are free to choose if they are selling hardware or licenses.
Are manufacturers demanding that you buy “support” exclusively from them?
They’re using service contracts to control your use of your purchases. This isn’t right, and it isn’t what you expected when you purchased their products.
"Some of the largest IT vendors in the industry, including IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle, are mining their install base in a bid to offset the damage being done to revenues by new disruptive technologies." —Gartner
Manufacturers are using dirty tactics—binding their repair and support services to sales. They’re telling you what you have to do with your device, and that isn’t right. You bought it, you own it.
Say no to expensive manufacturer monopolies on repair. Join The Repair Association to make sure these choices remain yours.