Fight to Repair Daily: Monday, September 12, 2022

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Bane of repairers: DMCA’s Section 1201 gets its day in court

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which revised US copyright laws in 1998 for the internet age, established criminal and civil penalties for picking a digital lock used to safeguard copyrighted work.

Digital locks, called “technological protective measures” in the statute, can include anything from password protections for viewing a movie to file encryptions on a DVD. A gamer who bypasses these locks to repair certain parts of an Xbox console or a security researcher identifying and publishing vulnerabilities in software could potentially face DMCA liability.

Matthew Green, a computer security researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and Andrew Huang, an electrical engineer and hacker, sued the Justice Department and the US Copyright Office in 2016. They argued that the circumvention ban, contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA, is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

Green claimed that he could face legal liability for writing and publishing a book about security flaws in computer software that includes hacking code. Huang and his company AlphaMax LLC want to create software that allows users to edit HD video, but requires circumventing certain encryption for HDMI signals. (Bloomberg Law)

The six things that make or break repairability

Every time product announcements roll around, reviewers are whipped into a frenzy to try to find something interesting to talk about. Meanwhile, iFixit’s engineers start forensically pre-constructing our teardown. As the online repair database for every thing, we’re more interested in device construction than camera specs or charging time rumors. We start asking ourselves: How are we gonna get in? Have they made access to the consumable battery easier? What’s the repairability going to be like? Are we gonna need to whip up a new screwdriver to take this apart? While much of tech these days is iterative and not so much new frontier territory, we still look for the same things. 

Here are three things that are almost guaranteed to make for repairability, and three that are likely to doom a product to the landfill… (

Steam Deck Repair Centers Are Now Open

As of September 12, 2022, Steam Deck owners can mail in their units to official repair centers. The center will perform repairs covered under warranty at no additional cost.

Here is how it works. Players with an issue can contact Steam Support, who will provide help and instructions for shipping the unit to the repair center. While at the repair center, a team will diagnose the problem, perform any needed repairs, and ship the fixed unit back. (

eBay partners with Reskinned to offer shoppers more choice on pre-owned clothing

eBay is the latest company to forge a partnership with Reskinned, which takes worn items from shoppers and reconditions them for resale. For items that don’t meet resale criteria, they are either repurposed or recycled.

Reskinned will build into eBay’s existing offer of “pre-loved” clothing and will connect the new resale items with more than 20 million shoppers through a “brand approved” shopfront. Reskinned already works with more than 30 brands including Finisterre, Sweaty Betty and River Island. (

Apple’s Beats Powerbeats Pro: a repair fail blow-by-blow

I shipped the dead earbuds and replacement batteries, along with the tube of glue and tools, to Huan Nguyen, a firmware engineer at local firm Halleck-Willard, Inc. (HWI), a Steripack company at the end of April, and Huan got back to me in mid-June with some disappointing news: “I’m sad to say I failed to resurrect the earbuds”. However, he’d thoroughly documented his travails, and he acquiesced to my request to republish and share them all with you here. Without further ado, over to you, Huan! (

Fight to Repair is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.