Public Knowledge Petitions Copyright Office for DMCA Exemption for Ice Cream Machines

Public Knowledge, iFixit ask the Copyright Office to allow people to repair commercial equipment, including soft serve ice cream machines like McDonald's.

Friday, Public Knowledge joined iFixit in filing a petition for new exemption asking the U.S. Copyright Office to allow people to repair consumer devices as well as commercial equipment, including soft serve ice cream machines similar to those available at McDonald’s. The petition was filed as part of the Copyright Office’s Section 1201 review process, which encourages advocates and public interest groups to present arguments for exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Section 1201 of the DMCA makes it illegal to bypass a digital lock that protects a copyrighted work, such as a device’s software, even when there is no copyright infringement. Every three years, the Copyright Office reviews exemption requests and issues recommendations to the Librarian of Congress on granting certain exceptions to Section 1201.

The following can be attributed to Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“During the previous cycle of 1201 exemption requests, we managed to finally secure an exemption for the right to repair, but it was limited to consumer devices. This round, we are excited to work with iFixit to continue building on this victory by pushing to include commercial equipment such as McDonald’s notoriously finicky commercial ice cream machines in the exemption for repair. In principle, copyright should not prevent anyone from repairing a device they own regardless of whether that device is consumer or commercial. The fact that this principle is not already embedded permanently into law demonstrates that our copyright system is as McBroken as the average McDonald’s ice cream machine.”

You may view the petition for new exemption 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 or 405-249-9435.