Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to pass Automotive Right to Repair. The same passionate legislators that shepherded Auto R2R through to law have taken up Digital Right to Repair as a logical next step. Massachusetts jokes that it likes to be first, or last. We’re betting on first.
H.3383 had its first public hearing at the State House on September 22. We provided personal and direct testimony on the need for repair. We covered topics as diverse as innovations in robotic systems and wheelchair repair, medical equipment repair price gauging and the impact to the health care budget in the state. We spoke to how kitchen table repair stimulates interest in STEM education and future innovators. We talked about how lack of repair of consumer products from refrigerators, cell phones, TVs, and all things internet will become mountains of solid waste adding to the tax burden.
The opposition sent a lobbyist from TechNet who provided the usual “The sky is falling” projections that the innovation economy will stall (Huh?), that IP will be stolen (Not a repair issue), and that STEM education will decline (How?). Can’t blame them for trying but the arguments are smoke and mirrors distractions from admitting their real interests are purely to protect the monopoly revenue stream.