Fight to Repair Daily: Friday, September 16 2022

A number of right to repair bills are languishing in the U.S. Congress as the legislative session draws to a close.

Right to Repair Bills Languish in Congress

Half a dozen right-to-repair bills are pending in Congress, including the Agricultural Right to Repair Act, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat. None has seen action in the Senate Commerce or the House Energy and Commerce committees since being introduced.

Like other legislation, the right-to-repair bills would expire at the end of this year, when the two-year congressional session ends, unless there is agreement in the near term to speed a right-to-repair bill into law. The House plans to recess from the end of September until Nov. 14, after the midterm elections, and will adjourn for the year in mid-December. “Decades of evidence have made it clear that repair restrictions raise costs, hurt small businesses, and encourage waste while padding large corporations’ pockets,” said Maine Rep. Jared Golden.

As chairman of a House Small Business subcommittee, he called Wednesday’s hearing to promote legislation “to restrict the ability of large companies to monopolize repair and after-market products.” (

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New York Right to Repair Act Changes OEM Repair Landscape

First, OEMs “make diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment available to independent repair providers and consumers if such parts and repair information are also available to OEM authorized repair providers.” This means that entities that manufacture and sell equipment will no longer be able to dictate the locations where devices can be brought for repair or who can service them.

Second, parts, components, and information, including diagnostic and repair instructions, that have previously been available only to OEM-“authorized” providers will, for the most part, be available to non-OEM-identified service providers. This largely eliminates the problem of non-OEM-identified providers being denied access to both parts and repair expertise that’s product specific. (

Don’t trash your old phone, give it a second life!

What is the best thing to do with an old phone I loved? To my surprise, after asking a bunch of people, it seems the answer is: Recycle as a last resort. Find a way to use it instead.

You see, recycling doesn’t really work for gadgets like the iPhone. “There’s no way to take a truck full of old cellphones, melt them down, and make new cellphones,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of the repair group iFixit, told me. “It’s not possible.” Elaborating, he said that it’s easy to repurpose the aluminum that makes up the bodies of a lot of our gadgets, but it’s not yet possible to recover a bunch of the other materials (such as neodymium, which is apparently used to make tiny magnets). (The Atlantic)

Wave of Magnuson-Moss Class Actions Sends Warning: Check Your Warranties

Numerous putative consumer class actions have now been filed in federal and state courts against major product manufacturers. Plaintiffs allege that they are prevented from utilizing a third party repair service for their products because doing so would void their product’s warranty, thereby constituting a violation of the MMWA’s Anti-Tying provision. In some cases, plaintiffs also assert supplemental state law claims for violations of consumer protections statutes in addition to federal claims under the MMWA.

The risk of litigation and agency action is, of course, highly dependent on the warranty language itself. Manufacturers can strengthen their position that their warranties are not, in fact, violative of the MMWA. For example, if their name-brand repair service is offered to the customer for free under the warranty, then their warranty does not violate the MMWA’s Anti-Tying The FTC has also interpreted the MMWA to not preclude a warrantor from expressly excluding liability for defects or damage caused by articles or services not provided by the manufacturer.vii Even if product warranties are not actually unlawfully conditional under the MMWA, however, all manufacturers should be aware that the FTC has interpreted the MMWA to prohibit product warranties that even imply they are conditioned on the exclusive use of brand-name repair service or parts. (

Electronic Frontier Foundation to Present Annual Award to Kyle Wiens of iFixit

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is honored to announce that blogger, software developer, activist, and political prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fattah, abortion rights technology organization Digital Defense Fund, and iFixit CEO and co-founder Kyle Wiens will receive the 2022 EFF Awards for their vital work in helping to ensure that technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all people.

The EFF Awards recognize specific and substantial technical, social, economic, or cultural contributions in diverse fields including journalism, art, digital access, legislation, tech development, and law. 

The awards will be presented at a live ceremony at 6 p.m. PT, Thursday, November 10 at The Regency Lodge, 1290 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco. Live guests can register at this link. The ceremony also will stream live and free on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. (

Worth it: Building demolition and re-use

In spite of saving material costs, additional labor made the purchase of brand-new, ready-to-hang doors the far cheaper and faster path. I was crestfallen. As I quickly learned, “salvaged” does not necessarily equate to “savings.

When it comes to a building’s end-of-life, deconstruction in lieu of demolition can send up to 85 percent less material to landfills but, thanks to additional labor, can be 80 percent more expensive.

A patchwork of reuse organizations across the nation strive to make the process as streamlined and cost-effective for consumers as possible. But as I recently heard at the Northeast Recycling Council’s Material Reuse Forum from Karen Jayne, CEO of Stardust, “it’s a tough business… building material [reuse] is often a breakeven proposition.”

As a society, we often prioritize the new over the old, ignoring the embedded value of our existing materials and doing little to reduce the barriers and complexity of reusing them. This is all too true when it comes to buildings. (

Repairing things good for the planet and good for the soul

Two Kilbeggan natives are spearheading a new project to encourage people to fix their possessions when they break instead of dumping them.

Teresa Dillon, Professor of City Futures, School of Art and Design, University of West England, and Dr Alma Clavin from UCD’s School of Geography, are the people behind Repair Acts Ireland, a project funded by the Creative Climate Action Fund and Westmeath County Council that aims to get people to think more about fixing repairable objects, which in turn will reduce the amount of waste they generate.

In an interview with the Westmeath Examiner, Professor Dillon said that the year-long project looks at how we can foster a more vibrant repair culture in Westmeath and elsewhere.

A repair culture is “an intersection of the things that we own, how they’re made and how we can fix them”, Prof Dillon explains. (Westmeath Examiner)

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