Podcast Episode: Right to Repair Catches the Car

Deeplinks 2024-04-23


If you buy something—a refrigerator, a car, a tractor, a wheelchair, or a phone—but you can't have the information or parts to fix or modify it, is it really yours? The right to repair movement is based on the belief that you should have the right to use and fix your stuff as you see fit, a philosophy that resonates especially in economically trying times, when people can’t afford to just throw away and replace things.

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 Companies for decades have been tightening their stranglehold on the information and the parts that let owners or independent repair shops fix things, but the pendulum is starting to swing back: New York, Minnesota, California, Colorado, and Oregon are among states that have passed right to repair laws, and it’s on the legislative agenda in dozens of other states. Gay Gordon-Byrne is executive director of The Repair Association, one of the major forces pushing for more and stronger state laws, and for federal reforms as well. She joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley to discuss this pivotal moment in the fight for consumers to have the right to products that are repairable and reusable.  

In this episode you’ll learn about: 

  • Why our “planned obsolescence” throwaway culture doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a technology status quo. 
  • The harm done by “parts pairing:” software barriers used by manufacturers to keep people from installing replacement parts. 
  • Why one major manufacturer put out a user manual in France, but not in other countries including the United States. 
  • How expanded right to repair protections could bring a flood of new local small-business jobs while reducing waste. 
  • The power of uniting disparate voices—farmers, drivers, consumers, hackers, and tinkerers—into a single chorus that can’t be ignored. 

Gay Gordon-Byrne has been executive director of The Repair Association—formerly known as The Digital Right to Repair Coalition—since its founding in 2013, helping lead the fight for the right to repair in Congress and state legislatures. Their credo: If you bought it, you should own it and have the right to use it, modify it, and repair it whenever, wherever, and however you want. Earlier, she had a 40-year career as a vendor, lessor, and used equipment dealer for large commercial IT users; she is the author of "Buying, Supporting and Maintaining Software and Equipment - an IT Manager's Guide to Controlling the Product Lifecycle” (2014), and a Colgate University alumna. 




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Josh Richman

Date tagged:

04/23/2024, 08:53

Date published:

04/23/2024, 03:06