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From the department where you can fix your own shit

Despite industry efforts to prevent this, the Right to Repair movement shows no signs of slowing down.

This week, Minnesota became the latest state to pass new Right to Repair legislation. State legislators added provisions on the right to repair to a omnibus bill (SF 2774) after winning bipartisan support in both houses. The wording requires electronics manufacturers to let independent repairers and consumers buy the parts and tools needed to repair their own technology.

It’s a direct response to years of efforts across numerous industries to make repairs more difficult, whether by making tools and manuals difficult to access, implementing cumbersome DRM, or buying up local repair shops to create a repair monopoly.

As is often the case, Minnesota’s new rules come with some caveats. Most importantly, they don’t apply to some business segments where the industry’s efforts to monopolize repairs are worst, such as game consoles, medical devices, or automobiles. Still, they cover things like gadgets designed to help reduce consumer costs and avoid environmental waste.

Nevertheless, in a statement, supporters of the right to repair at PIRG called the passage a remarkable victory:

“This is Right to Repair’s biggest win to date. Minnesotaans know that when something breaks, it has to be fixed. And when manufacturers refuse to give us access to what we need to repair, implement the law to cooperate,” said Nathan Proctor, executive director of PIRG’s US Right to Repair campaign. . “Repairs reduce waste and save consumers money. This is understandable and it is becoming increasingly clear that attempts by manufacturers to thwart repairs will no longer be tolerated. Minnesota won’t be the last state to code that.”

Lobbyists from the automotive, gaming and medical device industries were successful in narrowing the scope of the draft law during the legislative process. The auto industry in particular has been running a full-blown lobbying campaign to falsely demand the right to repairs, reforms helping sex offenders. Other companies like Apple have tried (again, wrongly) to claim the right to repair as a threat to security and privacy.

Still, Minnesota is only the second state to enact meaningful restrictions on the right to repair. First was New York, whose right to repair restrictions was watered down after passage thanks to last-minute movers from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. The movement shows no sign of slowing down, and the more recalcitrant companies are on the issue, the greater the pressure to implement reforms.

Minnesota’s new rules take effect July 1, 2024 and cover technology sold beginning July 1, 2021.

Filed under: appliance repair, nonpartisan, freedom to tinker, independent repair, minnesota, monopoly, right to repair