What's the Latest Development?

Now that Congress and the Obama administration have declared their support for cellphone unlocking, iFixit CEO and co-founder Kyle Wiens says the time has come to extend that privilege to any purchased object by making it easier to access information needed for repairs or modifications. Last week, Maine legislators introduced a "Right to Repair" bill which, if passed, will require vehicle manufacturers to make diagnostic information and equipment available to everyone without favoring dealerships and authorized repair shops. Massachusetts passed similar legislation last fall.

What's the Big Idea?

Wiens says that copyright laws are being subverted by manufacturers in order to keep consumers dependent on them for repairs and maintenance, and the more technologically advanced objects become, the more consumers are impacted. His site, iFixit, is just one of several Web sites that gives people tools and information to help them with their possessions. He recommends "meaningful copyright reform...As long as we're limited in our ability to modify and repair things, copyright — for all objects — will discourage creativity. It will cost us money. It will cost us jobs. And it’s already costing us our freedom."

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