Right to repair: The fight against manufacturers who make unfixable products

NBC News reports: With electronics becoming ever harder to fix because of design and legal restrictions, a loose coalition of repair professionals and environmentalists is putting the screws to manufacturers that they claim are fattening their bottom lines by deliberately engineering disposability into their products.

Loosely known as the “right to repair” movement, its advocates say the ability to tinker with products you own is a basic property right and necessary to create a healthy sustainable market. Many efforts by manufacturers to block repairs, they maintain, are intended to force consumers to buy new products or expensive warranties — not protect their intellectual property.

“We’ve been getting picked at little by little over 20 years,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, the founder and director of the Repair Association, said of the erosion of repairability in a host of consumer products, especially electronics.

The Repair Association — a coalition of service, security and environmental organizations founded in 2013 — is fighting restrictive repair policies and legal protections that prevent non-authorized repairs on many products that contain software — a quickly growing class of objects known as the “Internet of Things” if they also connect to the web. [Continue reading…]

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