Right to Repair
By Gay Gordon-Byrne, The Repair Association
Repair.org has been crazy busy since July as people seemed to come to grips with how to work during the pandemic. July also ended in a flourish when the Intellectual Property Sub-Committee conducted a massive 6 hour hearing about tech monopolies. As a result, State legislators are visibly more willing to push for Right to Repair as an anti-monopoly measure.
It’s also Copyright Exemption Request Season. We filed our exemption requests ahead of the September 8 deadline pushing toward more traditional style exemptions for repair of medical equipment and new requests related to independent building of software tools. Our members are leading the charge yet again to enable repair as widely as possible.
Senator Ron Wyden (OR) and Representative Yvonne Clark (NY) have cosponsored the Medical Infrastructure Right to Repair Act which is pulled from our R2R ideas plus a federal waiver of patent protections for service parts the duration of the pandemic. We applaud the effort and hope that Congress will step in to de-monopolize medical equipment services.
Used equipment has been one of the few healthy sectors of the economy as consumers and businesses struggle to acquire technology for work from home and distance learning. However, new limitations on used trading continue to pop up such as the GSA prohibiting used equipment purchased and pandemic related shortages of both new and used products. Several RLA members have joined with us to help develop industry best practices and help the industry avoid the many pitfalls of import/export/refurbishing and recycling.
As soon as the dust settles from the election -- we’ll be needing help in every state contacting returning and freshmen legislators to promote Right to Repair legislation. With any luck we’ll be active in at least 25 states and we fully expect to get to floor votes that were tabled when legislatures shut down early due to COVID. Please join or volunteer now so we don’t have to spend the rest of 2020 wondering whom we can tap to talk with legislators and media once bills are filed in January.
Gay Gordon-Byrne is the Executive Director of The Repair Association, a multi-stakeholder coalition of trade associations, businesses, charities and individuals all active in the repair, reuse, recycling or resale of digital electronic products. In her many years in the computer industry – Gay has had an inside look at how manufacturers, distributors, partners and retailers interact with their customers, service providers, lessors and lenders. She is the author of "Buying Supporting and Maintaining Software and Equipment: An IT Manager's Guide to Controlling the Product Lifecycle."