Independent repair is the heart and soul of America. Hard-working technicians create jobs and keep critical infrastructure functioning. But our livelihood is under attack by monopolistic corporations. All we need is a fair shake: access to the same parts and information that the dealer stores have.
Independent repair keeps millions of electronics functioning—despite the manufacturer's best efforts to quash us.
Here's just a few examples of why we fight for your right to repair electronics:
Nikon Shuts Down Independent Repair
In early 2012, Nikon sent a letter to their independent service network. Nikon flatly stated that they would no longer supply repair parts to anyone—except 23 Nikon authorized repair facilities. In one fell swoop, Nikon secured for itself an absolute monopoly over the repair of their products. And it put thousands of qualified, established camera repair technicians out of business.
Cell phone unlocking
In January of 2013, the Librarian of Congress effectively banned unlocking cellphones without the permission of the carrier. His reasoning: that modifying a phone's programming was a violation of US copyright law. The effect: Cellphone refurbishers wouldn't be able unlock cell phones for reuse. Members of this coalition banded together with other advocates and fought to re-legalize cell phone unlocking. On August 1, 2014, President Obama signed unlocking legislation—ensuring that both consumers and refurbishers would be able to unlock phones.
Apple Bricks Independently Repaired Phones
In 2016, Apple confirmed that a software update had been quietly killing phones repaired outside of their "authorized" service network. Initially, the software giant defended "Error 53" as a security measure—and put the blame on independent repair shops and shoddy parts. Consumers, DIY hobbyists, and repair pros called out Apple for misrepresenting the facts. Apple apologized, admitted that Error 53 was a software mistake, and issued a software patch that fixed phones "bricked" by the error.
Apple reversed its position because consumers and repair professionals took a stand. It was a clear victory for the right to repair your stuff.
There’s still a lot of work left to do to ensure that independent repair shops have the parts, tools, information, and support they need to fix products. We’re going to continue to fight these battles publicly, in front of the Copyright Office, in front of lawmakers, and wherever else they need to be fought.