Tech giants are gearing up to fight 'right to repair' bills

Fair repair laws mean tech manufacturers must sell repair equipment and instructions to independent companies and customers.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Tech giant Apple is gearing up for a legal fight in Nebraska over so-called "right to repair" legislation, which has also been proposed in seven other states, including Minnesota.

Fair repair laws would require electronics companies to sell repair parts directly to consumers and independent repair shops, as well as making diagnostic and service manuals available to the public, according to The Repair Association, a group that's pushing for these changes.

This would bring an end to a monopoly where manufacturers either provide repairs themselves, or have control over which companies are authorized to do repairs, iFix it, another right to repair advocacy group, says. Apple, for example, doesn't authorize third-party companies to repair its iPhones or tablets.

This is the third year fair repair legislation has been introduced on the state level, iFix it says. But every time, Apple and other electronics companies swoop in to put an end to it. And it looks like that could be the case this year, too.

Motherboard reports Apple and AT&T are among the companies that plan to argue against the right to repair bill in Nebraska at a hearing on March 9. At least one of the companies plans to argue customers repairing their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire, the website adds.

Of course, there are plenty of independent cellphone repair companies out there, but Motherboard says many of these "exist in limbo," relying on supplies from Chinese grey markets that include salvaged parts from recycled devices to carry out their services.

What's going on in Minnesota?

There are bipartisan fair repair bills currently going through the Minnesota Legislature, with one having been proposed in the Senate last month and the same bill introduced in the House last week.

The law would require manufacturers to make repair information and diagnostics available to independent repair firms, and enable customers to buy repair parts "on fair and reasonable terms."

It includes safeguards so manufacturers don't have to share trade secrets.

The implications of this won't just be confined to cellphones, but also household appliances, smart home devices, cameras, tractors and anything else with software.

The Senate bill in Minnesota was authored by Republican Sen. David Osmek and DFLer John. Marty, while the House bill was authored by several lawmakers including the GOP's Rep. Bob Vogel and the DFL's Rep. Paul Thissen.

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.

PennyMomentos

How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.

Drywall

Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.

ambulance

4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.

20201107_vivir-1151-Edit

Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.

MasklessJudgesinWiscoyTownship

At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said

Related

Best Buy stores could soon be home to Apple's secret screen-repair machines

Apple is giving its repair machines to third-party companies for the first times.

Why are Americans being warned not to buy a Huawei smartphone?

The warning came from U.S. intelligence chiefs on Tuesday.

Apple says security flaws outed by WikiLeaks are old, fixed

This comes after the latest reveal by WikiLeaks.

Samsung is done with the Galaxy Note 7 for good

The world's largest smartphone maker will no longer make, market or sell the "phablet" device.

Study: Targeted ads on popular apps can track your location

Researchers say it's not hard for someone to buy an ad and track your location.

How to get your hands on an iPhone X

Demand is expected to outstrip supply for months, so you need to act fast.