The Repair Association, previously the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, was formed in 2013. The Association represents everyone involved in repair of technology—from DIY hobbyists and independent repair technicians, to environmental organizations and the aftermarket.
In addition to standing up for your interests in Washington DC, The Repair Association is a place where repair industry professionals can meet on common terms to discuss issues that relate to us all, network with other members, and move our businesses and our industry forward.
Statement of Principles
For hundreds of years, Americans have been buying and selling products without worrying if they had the ability to tinker with, repair, and reuse those products. But more and more common goods now come with restrictions on your ability to do all that — or even hire someone you trust to do it for you. Some products even come with contracts and mandatory licenses that interfere with your right to resell your product.
A free, independent market for repair and reuse is more efficient, more competitive, and better for consumers. Repair helps create local jobs, and repair and reuse benefits the environment by reducing end-of-life electronic products. The freedom to maintain, innovate, and improve upon our products is imperative. These basic freedoms are essential to American economic growth and creativity, and must be preserved for the 21st century.
As consumers, we have the right to the following from the companies that we support:
Information: The documentation, software, and legal ability we need to repair our own products -- or choose someone we trust to do it for us.
Parts + Tools: Fair access to service parts and tools, including diagnostics.
Unlocking for Repair and Reuse: We should be able to unlock and modify the software and firmware that is required to operate our products.
Unencumbered Resale: We should be able resell our products (including the software needed to operate them).
Repairable Products: Designers should integrate design for repair and recycling principles into product development.
A Brief History of Right to Repair
The Repair Association is an outspoken advocate for your right to repair and modify products—from automobiles to IT equipment. Here's a brief history of the burgeoning Right to Repair movement and our contributions to it:
Automotive Right to Repair Passed in MASSAChusetts
In 2012, the Aftermarket Automobile Industry Association successfully passed the Automotive Right to Repair Act in Massachusetts (H. 4362). A ballot question that same year passed by 86%, proving that there is strong consumer and legislative support for Right to Repair. Many other states began to bring similar bills forward. Under the specter of having 50 different sets of automotive repair laws, the Auto Alliance negotiated an informal, nationwide agreement with their aftermarket counterparts.
Automotive Right to Repair will begin in all 50 states in model year 2018. It is a solid step in the right direction, but it is only for cars. Other forms of vehicles or engines, such as trucks, buses, boats, or farm equipment, are not included despite the common issues, components, and tools.
The Repair Association is picking up where Automotive Right to Repair left off. Consumers deserve the same protections for all the repair of all of their products that they now have for their automobiles.
Digital Right to Repair Bill in South Dakota
SB 136 in South Dakota was our first attempt at promoting legislation early in 2014. The Bill had strong bi-partisan supporters in the Senate and was discussed in several iterations of testimony. But lobbyists from the auto industry, John Deere, and Caterpillar managed to kill the bill in committee. The fight for repair rights has moved to neighboring states—where bills are under consideration.
Cell Phone Unlocking Legalized
After a year of advocacy by many of the members of this association and a wildly successful White House Petition, President Obama signed into a law the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. This Association was key to ensuring that the interests of cell phone refurbishers were protected in the law.
Fair Repair Bills Introduced in New York, Minnesota and Nebraska
In 2015, the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (now the Repair Association) worked with allies on the ground to introduce pro-repair legislation at the state level in New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota. "Fair Repair" would do just what the name implies: it would make repair fair again. Fair for owners of digital equipment. And fair for independent repair facilities.
If made law, Fair Repair would require manufacturers to provide owners and independent repair businesses with fair access to service information, security updates, and replacement parts.
The principles of Fair Repair have also been noticed by other states. Led by enthusiastic farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, a Fair Repair bill was introduced in January 2016, and will be considered by the Agriculture Committee.
Massachusetts looks to expand on Right to Repair leadership with "Digital Right to Repair"
Massachusetts legislators led the nation by being first to pass Automotive Right to Repair into law in the summer of 2012. In 2015, it moved to round out repair protections with a Digital Right to Repair bill, initiated by this Association in partnership with local repair professionals and lawmakers. All it takes is was passage in one state to change national policy changes favoring repair rights. The race is on to see if Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota or Nebraska will be first state to move repair rights forward for everyone.
We Won Exemptions for Repair from the Copyright Office
In 2015, the Copyright Office decided which of your own devices are legal to investigate, repair, and modify—bringing a close to this Repair Association's year-long effort to carve out protections for tinkerers and repair professionals under US copyright law. We scored a number of significant victories. Along with a coalition of activists, recyclers, and legal clinics, we were able to overcome the objections of manufacturers and secure exemptions for repairing tractors, cars, and tablets.