FTC, DOJ Back Public Knowledge Effort To Expand Repair Rights

DOJ, FTC join an effort led by Public Knowledge and iFixit to allow people to repair commercial equipment, including soft serve ice cream machines similar to those available at McDonald’s.

Today, both the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission filed comments on the Copyright Office’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in support of Public Knowledge and iFixit’s petition to allow users of commercial and industrial equipment the ability to circumvent digital locks in order to maintain and repair their devices. The comments argue that the proposed expansion would benefit device owners by allowing them greater control over their devices, as well as by creating more robust competition in aftermarket repairs.

The following quote can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel:

“We all know President Biden loves a good ice cream. Today, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission stood up not just for tasty frozen treats, but for the right of small businesses to repair and maintain the equipment they’ve paid for. Not only did they vocally and unreservedly support both repair petitions currently before the Copyright Office, but also noted that the benefits would extend well beyond the specific technologies listed in our petition. 

“The Biden administration made addressing unfair restrictions on third-party repair a top priority in its competition agenda. That’s because the right to repair isn’t just about fixing your stuff; it’s about supporting rural communities far from any authorized repair service, and minority-owned businesses who are disproportionately affected by barriers to entry. It’s also about fundamental concepts of ownership and responsibility. It’s time to fix the law, and fix our stuff.”

You may view our petition for more information.

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.