The Repair Association is actively engaged with promoting legislation at both the state and federal level. There is no single solution. State laws can require manufacturers to share the information necessary for repair, which isn't a copyright issue. Copyright reform can limit or remove DRM, which states cannot do. Both types of laws are necessary and we work on both.
Right to Repair & Fair Repair
Fair Repair is resonating widely as a consumer protection measure that helps every consumer in every corner of every state. Nearly identical measures are being considered across the US with pan-partisan support. We all need to be able to fix our stuff.
The concept is simple. The digital electronics within automobiles are the same parts used in thousands of other devices, suffer the same types of failures, are controlled by the same types of firmware, and are repaired using the same information, parts, and tools. Since repair is the same, the rules for repair should also be the same.
We’ve been very successful in removing the threat of copyright violations for most repair activities. The latest round of 1201 Exemption Requests has validated our logic and paved the way for widespread access to consumer repair.
The USCO agreed with our arguments that consumers should be able to fix their stuff — even if it means someone has to break a software lock. Even better — its now legal to hire someone to help you fix your stuff.
They USCO did not agree that computer gaming stations should be open to repair — and some equipment such as planes and boats didn’t fall into the category of exemptions for “Land Based Motor Vehicles” but you can fix your home appliances, IOT Devices cell phones and computers without violating copyright law.
December 2016 : Copyright Office Study on Embedded Software and Repair
Following a full year of study, hearings, and stakeholder events, the US Copyright office published their findings. They concluded the manufacturers are blocking repair with the false threat of copyright infringement, but the real culprit lies in contract law, particularly End User License Agreements ("EULA"). When we buy equipment we have the widespread right to repair and tinker, but once agreed otherwise, as within a EULA, the contract supersedes copyright law. Therefore, the legislative solution for unlocking repair belongs to states - which have control over general business law and contracts.
For more details and our analysis - click here.
June, 2017: COPYRIGHT STUDY ON SECTION 1201 (DRM)
The Copyright Office also conducted a separate study on the potential need to reform Section 1201 (known as "Anti-Circumvention") for Congress. This study agreed with us that Section 1201 / DRM is a serious impediment to repair, and recommended a permanent exemption for repair and maintenance for everything except gaming equipment.
It remains up to Congress to take up the recommendation and file legislation.
For more details on the problems of DRM - see #DayAgainstDRM
Regulations and Standards
August, 2017: Repair.org Report on Electronic Recycling Standards
Repair.org members have been involved as members of standards bodies EPEAT, NSF and IEEE to promote repairability as the most effective form of electronic waste reduction possible. After years of effort -- we have had to vote down a proposed IEEE server recycling standard as entirely lacking in leadership.
June, 2017 Repair.org members engage with the FDA and Congress regarding repair of medical devices.
Members IAMERS. Geisinger Health and ACCE members provided key testimony to the FDA and Congress on the challenges facing health care providers and their choice of repair services. Repair.org filed testimony with Congress in support of independent repair.
Repair.org filed an Amicus brief with ASCDI, EFF, Public Knowledge in support of Impression Products v Lexmark heard in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). We won -- impressively. SCOTUS ruled emphatically that manufacturers have exhausted their control over products with the initial ("first") sale. Once sold -- they cannot tell the new owner what to do.
For further information on how US copyright law hinders consumers and the right to repair, see following articles: