Last year, California was one of several states to introduce right to repair legislation that would force companies to end practices that discourage the independent repair sector, creating a requirement to sell replacement parts, provide documentation, and supply codes to bypass DRM systems that locked new parts out of devices until the company activated them.
The bills were mostly defeated, thanks to coalitions led by Apple — which subsequently warned its investors that its profits were threatened by customers' unwillingness to abandon their old devices and buy new ones.
In California, the farm lobby did a deal with the devil, selling out to the ag-tech sector and throwing its weight behind Apple's push to kill the bill.
But the California right-to-repair legislation is back in play, thanks to California State Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman [D-Stockton], whose Assembly Bill 1163 is substantively similar to last year's r-to-r bill.
Depending on how you count, the repair sector is worth 1-4% of total US GDP, and most repair businesses are neighborhood-based small firms whose profits stay in your community. By contrast, Apple (and other Big Tech firms) are notorious tax avoiders who funnel their profits offshore and then direct them to their distant shareholders in the form of massive stock buybacks and other forms of financial engineering.
"Companies love when we buy and toss, and buy new at the greatest possible speed, but it's expensive for consumers and the waste is piling up," said Emily Rusch, Executive Director for CALPIRG. "Electronic waste is now the fastest growing part of the waste stream. This bill will help California fix our way out of this mess."
"In today's world, electronic devices are an essential part of our lives, but they can be expensive and almost impossible to easily repair. When a device stops working, you should be able to get it fixed by a servicer you choose, or fix it yourself," said Maureen Mahoney of Consumer Reports. "You shouldn't be forced to hand it over to the manufacturer and pay whatever it demands, or just throw it away and replace it. We commend Assemblymember Eggman for her leadership in ensuring consumers' right to repair, and look forward to working with her to improve consumer choice in the marketplace."
Eggman Introduces Legislation Establishing the Right to Repair [Susan Talamantes Eggman]
California reintroduces 'Right to Repair' bill after previous effort failed [Mikey Campbell/Apple Insider]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: John Bumstead)