I happen to be a gadget guy who likes tinkering with electronics. I’ve built computers, 3D printers, a primative blindspot warning device, and a sous vide cooker that worked. I’ve done plenty of wiring and harness changes, too. So this Right to Repair legislation is close to my heart. If I can’t tinker with it, I don’t own it. I understand that I am voiding the warranty and assuming risk. Thank you.
Tractor company John Deere is adamantly opposed, saying such in a letter such legislation should be voted down “to protect consumers’ significant investment in equipment.” Writing in the Lincoln Journal-Star, Andy Goodman, the President and CEO of the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, says that LB 67 would a legal nightmare surrounding inevitable injuries on dangerous equipment. It would “create a situation where third parties injured by an improper repair performed by an unqualified technician are unlikely to recover for the damages they sustained due to the negligence of an equipment owner or third party.”
Okay. Got it. If a shade-tree mechanic flashes the chip in my tractor, John Deere isn’t responsible and I might be out the cost of a tractor if ol’ Cleetus doesn’t have anything but ex-wives and debt. His modifications may even cause me to lose control of the tractor, plow through a school and be on the hook for wrongful deaths. I don’t recall the last time Jeep paid out when some idiot flipped his highly modified crawler and killed himself. This is not a good argument against sharing product specifications with consumers.
What is a slightly stronger justification in libertarian circles is the contention that complying with this law would put valuable intellectual property at risk. I, personally, have a conflicted view on whether and how much intellectual property deserves protection, and you’ll find libertarians all over the map from the position that there is no such thing as intellectual property to Disney should be able to keep Snow White copyrighted for as long as they can convince Congress to keep extending protections.
I have to say that I am not as happy about this part:
“Right to Repair” is legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops. On top of that, the laws would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public.