A movement is underway to give consumers the right to repair the products they own. Fed up with having to throw away electronic devices, appliances and machinery that could and should be easily repairable, people in Europe and the United States are turning to their elected officials. Since nothing is actually a “right” until it’s in law, legislation is required.
And laws are beginning to see the light of day. In the United States, right-to-repair legislation has been introduced in 17 states. Across the Atlantic, Sweden and France have already enacted laws, and the European Union is seriously considering one.
Once upon a time it was commonplace not only for people to repair the things they bought but to buy them with the expectation that they could be easily repaired. Such is no longer the case. During the last decades, manufacturers of household appliances as well as the Silicon Valley designers of high-tech products have made repair impossible or outrageously impractical.
The right-to-repair movement is driven by several concerns. The first is immediate and personal — the high cost of constantly having to purchase entirely new devices and machines whenever the smallest part fails, rather than simply replacing the part and fixing the mechanism. Another motivation is more prospective and collective: a growing concern many share about the enormous amount of waste produced daily by our throw-away culture. Increasingly aware of the enduring consequences of polluting our soil, water, and air through thoughtless accommodation to products whose short lifespans promote a wastefulness that in turn accelerates the worst effects of climate change, many are now working to slow, if not reverse, such a profligate consumerism.
Read About What’s Happening...
“Right to Repair” legislation has now been introduced in 17 states
Fast Company | January 2018
“Hawaii and Oklahoma are the most recent states to introduce laws that would give consumers an alternative to manufacturer service departments when something breaks, says a report by advocacy group In general, the proposed Right To Repair laws to be debated in 17 states would require device makers like Apple and Samsung to make the tools, parts, and manuals needed for repairs available to independent repair shops. 
Apple, Toyota, John Deere and others have lobbied against the laws, saying that letting third parties crack the shell on consumer devices opens the door to hackers and device counterfeiters. The Right To Repair people say manufacturers are simply trying to keep their monopoly on the lucrative business of repairing their own stuff.”
“States with laws pending include: Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.” Read more…

Defend Your Right to Repair! (and Tinker, Make, Re-use, or Break)
Electronic Frontier Foundation | 2018
“More and more, your devices come embedded with software.  From phones to cars to refrigerators to farm equipment, software is helping your stuff work better and smarter, with awesome new features.  Cool, right?
Yep... until it breaks and you want to fix it yourself (or take it to a local repair shop you trust). Or you think of a way to make it work better that requires tinkering with the software (or some third party does).  Or you want to give it to a friend or re-sell it. Then, you have a problem. Why? Copyright.”  Read more…

The US Government Wants to Permanently Legalize the Right to Repair
Motherboard | By Jason Koebler | June 22nd 2017
"The [US Copyright] Office recommends against limiting an exemption to specific technologies or devices.”
“In one of the biggest wins for the right to repair movement yet, the US Copyright
Office suggested Thursday that the US government should take actions to make it legal to repair anything you own, forever—even if it requires hacking into the product's software.” Read more… 

Why Sweden is tackling ‘throwaway culture’ with tax breaks for repairs
Apolitical | September 29th 2016
“To combat the ‘throwaway consumer culture’, Sweden has announced tax breaks on repairs to clothes, bicycles, fridges and washing machines. On bikes and clothes, VAT has been reduced from 25% to 12% and on white goods consumers can claim back income tax due on the person doing the work.
The incentives are intended to reduce the environmental impact of the things Swedes buy. The country has ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but has found that the impact of consumer choices is actually increasing.” Read more… 

EU Prepares "Right to Repair" Legislation to Fight Short Product Life Spans
Jul 8, 2017
“Planned obsolescence has led to huge amounts of e-waste”
“To combat electronic waste and abusive practices like manufacturers legally preventing users from repairing their devices, the EU is preparing legislation that would legalize a customer's "right to repair," and would force vendors to design products for longer life and easier maintenance.”  Read more…




"Repair is the lifeblood of local economies. Our members make products last longer, save owners money, and create local jobs."  

- iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens
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The Public Goods Post has been created by June Sekera, 
Founder and Director of the Public Goods Institute; and Research Fellow at the 
Global Development And Environment Institute, Tufts University.

The Public Goods Post is produced by Daniel Agostino.

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