"Right to Repair" Is About A Whole Lot More Than iPhones
Apple is preparing to do battle with "Right to Repair" legislation in Nebraska, but there's more than just phones at stake. The Right to Repair movement is getting a major opponent in the form of Apple, according to reports from Vice's Motherboard. And while the battle over repairing phones may take the forefront, there's much more at stake.
"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.
Backed by the lobbying group Repair.org, Right to Repair legislation is currently working its way through eight state-level legislatures across the country: Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, Wyoming, Illinois and Tennessee. Apple appears to be focusing its efforts on the Nebraska efforts at first, perhaps because Nebraska's unique unicameral legislature (the state has no House or Senate, just one body known as "the Legislature") makes it easier to consolidate lobbying efforts.
According to Motherboard's source, an Apple representative will testify against the bill, LB 67, at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9, alongside AT&T. Collectively, the two companies will argue against the legislation as a matter of safety, saying that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire. It's a danger that's been in the news regularly, most recently when a fire broke out in a Samsung factory in China.
Apple is not the only one citing safety measures. 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."
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