FTC Files Comment to Support Right to Repair

FTC Files Comment to Support Right to Repair

FTC Files Comment to Support Right to Repair

FTC Files Comment to Support Right to RepairThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (DOJ) recently submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office to support customers’ and businesses’ rights to repair.

The comment will be jointly submitted to the Copyright Office, which is currently contemplating whether to appeal to the Librarian of Congress regarding the expansion of temporary exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) prohibition. This act prohibits the circumvention of technology protection measures that control the access to copyrighted content.

In their comment, the FTC and DOJ claim that renewing and expanding of these exemptions would promote market competition for replacement parts, repairable products and maintenance services. While technology protection measures are designed to prevent theft and infringement, they can also impede the normal operation of non-infringing third-party repair services, which can harm competition and increase costs in product maintenance. Therefore, the FTC and DOJ believe that removing barriers that limit independent service providers would make product repairs easier and more affordable for consumers and businesses.

In the printing industry, these measures could limit access to third-party supplies such as chips, cartridges, and toners, restricting repair and replacement options to original equipment manufacturers. Additionally, restrictions could potentially be implemented in users’ devices through automatic firmware updates, as alleged in the case of HP.

This is not the first time the FTC has advocated for the right to repair. In 2019, it held a workshop titled “Nixing the Fix,” focusing on repair restrictions. Two years later, it pledged to enforce laws against restrictions that violated antitrust and consumer protection laws. This time, the Commission voted 3-0 to approve the filing of the joint comment, which mainly addresses computer programs and motor vehicles.



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