US government examines right to repair


The White House is preparing an initial ordinance to establish a right to repair. It wants to break the repair monopoly. The focus is on tractor and smartphone manufacturers such as Apple.

It would be the first time a US president has dealt with the right to repair. Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced an executive order for the next few days that creates the first legal basis. In the press conference she revealed that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Agriculture are also working on new rules to “give farmers the right to repair their own equipment however they want.” But tech companies are also in the bill, according to insiders . The background to this is the repair monopoly that uses various measures to prevent repairs from being carried out or the free choice of a workshop.



Proprietary parts and license clauses prevent repairs

It is a first step in making it easier for consumers to get their own things working again. Large companies prevent this by installing software locks or writing corresponding clauses in license agreements. In addition, they use proprietary parts that they only deliver to authorized dealers or authorized workshops.

Consumers and organizations have long been pushing for corporations to sell parts to everyone and provide internal repair instructions. They are also calling for a ban on software bans. Now the government is apparently breaking the lobbying power of manufacturers by adopting special rules. They should initially apply specifically to farmers. Further orders are to follow.



Commitment didn’t help

In detail, it is about the ongoing criticism from agriculture, corporations such as the tractor manufacturer John Deere actively prevented self-repair. To do this, the company uses software that locks out the owners of their own devices. In the past, John Deere and its competitors had agreed to allow a watered-down version of the right to repair. As a result, however, this weakened variant was not adhered to. Spokeswoman Psaki announced that the order would give consumers the right to repair their own devices “as they want”.

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Tech companies and the defense industry in their sights

Bloomberg reports that the FTC will determine the final shape of the upcoming rules. The authority had previously complained that large tech companies “destroy repairs” via repair monopolies. The report mentions specific language that is specific to Cell phone manufacturers and defense companies judge.

In the past, US states have repeatedly fought unsuccessfully against lobbying by Deere, Apple and Co. to strengthen repair rights. Now the federal government is apparently taking matters into its own hands in order to create cross-state facts. Last year also did the EU corresponding rules announced. Consumer advocates are excited about the US’s first step in this direction. It shows that the Right-to-Repair campaign is moving forward and is gaining new support. Through the public pressure of the campaign Apple opened up to independent workshops last summer.

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