Meet the people who went to the US Copyright Office to demand your right to repair, remix and preserve!

Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.

It's a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you're using your own property in the privacy of your own home.

But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.

The latest round of these hearings took place in April, and of course, EFF was there, with some really cool petitions (as dramatized by the science fiction writers Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow [ahem]), along with many of our friends and allies, all making their own pleas for sanity in copyright law.

We commemorated the occasion with a collection of short video conversations between me and our pals. Read the rest

John Scalzi wrote a science fiction story about the DMCA to help EFF's Right to Repair campaign

Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule. Read the rest

A who's-who of tech manufacturers sent scaremongering letters to the Illinois legislature to kill Right to Repair

Illinois is one of 18 states where Right to Repair legislation has been introduced -- rules that would force manufacturers to end the practice of undermining the independent repair sector with hidden service documents, unavailable parts, and DRM. Read the rest

FTC orders manufacturers to cut it out with the unenforceable "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers

Since the passage of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers and other policies that put restrictions on third party repairs have been unenforceable in America, but that doesn't stop companies from putting deceptive tamper-evident stickers on their equipment in an effort to trick or intimidate their customers into going to a manufacturer-authorized service depot. Read the rest

Ifixit flunks Apple's new educational Ipad as nearly un-repairable

Apple's education-centric new Ipad is meant to be used in rambunctious classrooms where drops and other abuse will be commonplace; it is also meant to compete with relatively easy-to-service Pixelbooks that school district IT departments can fix themselves or get repaired by a wide variety of independent, local service depots whose community-based technicians do repairs onsite and also keep local tax dollars circulating in the community. Read the rest

Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America's independent farmers into tenant farmers

"Precision agriculture" is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can't afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they're locked into the platforms' walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits. Read the rest

Lobbyists release push-poll in an effort to tank Right to Repair bills and control independent security research

The Security Innovation Center is a lobbying group backed by CompTIA, CTIA, TechNet and the Consumer Technology Association for the express purpose of fighting laws that would legalize repairing your own property, or choosing to have it repaired by third parties. Read the rest

Documentary on the DRM-breaking farmers who just want to fix their tractors, even if they have to download bootleg Ukrainian firmware to do it

Motherboard's short documentary, "Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech's Repair Monopoly" is an excellent look at the absurd situation created by John Deere's position that you can't own your tractor because you only license the software inside it, meaning that only Deere can fix Deere's tractors, and the centuries-old tradition of farmers fixing their agricultural equipment should end because Deere's shareholders would prefer it that way. Read the rest

Why electrical engineers should support the right to repair

Writing in IEEE Spectrum, iFixit's superhero founder Kyle Wiens and Repair.org exective director Gay Gordon-Byrne bring the case for the right to repair (previously) to the engineering community, describing the economic, technical, and environmental benefits of permitting a domestic industry of local, expert technologists to help their neighbors get more out of their gadgets. Read the rest

EFF will tell the Copyright Office (again) to protect your right to remix, study and tinker

Every three years, the US Copyright Office has to ask America about all the ways in which Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which bans bypassing DRM, even for legitimate reasons) interferes with our lives, and then it grants limited exemptions based on the results. Read the rest

Hiding malware in boobytrapped replacement screens would undetectably compromise your mobile device

On the one hand, if you let an untrusted stranger install hardware in your electronic device, you're opening yourself up to all kinds of potential mischief; on the other hand, an estimated one in five smartphones has a cracked screen and the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way to get that fixed is to go to your corner repair-shop. Read the rest

The EU's Right to Repair proposal makes America's look weaksauce

Eight US states are trying to pass minimal Right to Repair legislation that would require companies not to actively confound people who wanted to fix their stuff or choose an independent repair center. But in the EU, Europeans' strong preference for "durable, high-quality products that can be repaired and upgraded" has led to a proposal to require goods sold in Europe to be designed for improvement and maintenance, on the lines of the inspiring and enduring Maker's Bill of Rights. Read the rest

What's wrong with the Copyright Office's DRM study?

This month's US Copyright Office study on Section 1201 of the DMCA identified many problems with America's DRM laws, which ban bypassing DRM even when no copyright infringement takes place. Read the rest

US Copyright Office recommends sweeping, welcome changes to America's DRM laws

A new report from the US Copyright Office on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- a controversial law that bans breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes -- calls for sweeping, welcome changes to the DMCA. Read the rest

Apple, CTA and Big Car are working in secret to kill New York's Right to Repair legislation

Here's the list of companies that are quietly lobbying to kill New York State's Right to Repair legislation (previously), which would force companies to halt anticompetitive practices that prevent small businesses from offering repair services to their communities: "Apple, Verizon, Toyota, Lexmark, Caterpillar, Asurion, Medtronic" and the Consumer Technology Association "which represents thousands of electronics manufacturers." Read the rest

Independent repair guy on the planned obsolescence of Apple products

Louis Rossmann is an independent service technician in New York City who has repaired Apple products for years. Read the rest

More on the desperate farmers jailbreaking their tractors' DRM to bring in the harvest

John Deere says that farmers don't really own their tractors -- even the ones they buy used! -- because the copyrighted software necessary to run those tractors is licensed, not sold. Read the rest

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