A quest taken up by farmers and independent repair shops to gain the rights to service manuals, diagnostic tools and parts for high-tech equipment has met opposition in Nebraska from corporations such as Apple and John Deere, reads a new report from Time.
Right to repair laws, also called fair repair laws, typically require manufacturers to publish repair manuals and sell the parts, diagnostic software, and tools needed to fix their products. The goal is to ensure consumers can repair their own devices, or pay an independent outfit to do so. Simply put, these bills argue that you bought the device, and you should be able to repair it.
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 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.
Manufacturers have lobbied hard against right to repair legislation in the past. Last year, a bill headed through the New York statehouse was killed in part due to lobbying from Apple and IBM, among other manufacturers.
Nationwide, however, the legislation appears to have much more momentum this year as more states introduce right to repair bills. Last month, the American Farm Bureau Federation, an influential political organization representing farmers, officially endorsed right to repair legislation.
Apple has opened up its closed repair system somewhat though, as a recent report by Reuters stated the company would be sharing its proprietary iPhone screen repair machine–known as Horizon–with 400 retailers worldwide.