The folks at iFixit aren't just the people who rip apart every new gadget that comes down the pipeline. They're also enthusiastic proponents of user-accessible devices that can be repaired without an engineering degree - that's more or less the purpose of the site, including the store that sells tools and parts for readers to follow along with those prolific teardown guides. Now the company is spearheading a new lobbying group that intends to fight for the rights of consumers and third-party repair professionals.
They're calling it the Repair Association, and they've partnered with like-minded organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Service Industry Association, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, the Fixers' Collective and others to make it a reality. According to the announcement post, the Repair Association intends to advocate electronics that are built from the design stage for easy repair, free and easy reselling of hardware and applicable software, products that can be unlocked (both hardware and software) for user access to repair and modification, and easily-available tools, parts, and repair documentation.
The scope isn't limited to mobile electronics or even conventional computers: iFixIt's announcement post includes enterprise-grade hardware, home appliances, medical devices, and even farming equipment, all of which can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming for authorized repairs. There's certainly a commercial element, as the Repair Association explicitly says it intends to represent independent repair shops, but all of its resources will also be available to regular consumers on the association's web hub, Repair.org.
Following a successful campaign to legalize cellphone unlocking, winning key exemptions from the Copyright Office for repair, and strong support for repair-friendly state legislation, we are excited to launch The Repair Association (repair.org)—a new organization representing professional and consumer repairers.
Expanding on work started by the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, repair.org will be a hub for repair professionals and a voice for the entire repair industry.
There are over 3 million repair and reuse professionals in the US. They fix cell phones, repair refrigerators, refurbish servers, return tractors to working order, and so much more. Their combined efforts have diverted millions of products from landfills and added countless dollars to the American economy. Repair keeps America running.
Despite their contributions, no trade group unites the repair industry as a whole. Until now. The Repair Association will fight for the interests of professional and consumer repairers—as well as providing professional development resources across repair communities.
“The repair industry is facing unique challenges,” says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, the online repair community. “Integrated electronics are making it harder to fix things. And manufacturers keep restricting access to service documentation, parts, and software—which forces consumers into more expensive ‘manufacturer-authorized’ repairs and drives small repair shops out of business.”
The Repair Association advocates nationally for a competitive repair market, as well as improvements to the quality and longevity of products.
“As software has become ubiquitous, remaking everything from cars to phones to everyday appliances, so too have legal and technical restrictions on basic users’ rights to repair, research, remake and reuse our devices,” says Corynne McSherry, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Now more than ever, we need organizations like repair.org to defend our rights.”
The Repair Association stands for access to …
- Information: Fair access to documentation and software required for repair.
- Parts and tools: Fair access to service parts and tools, including diagnostics.
- Unlocking for repair and reuse: The ability to unlock and modify software and firmware.
- Unencumbered resale: The ability to resell products (including the software needed to operate them).
- Repairable products: Design for repair and recycling principles should be integrated into product development.
Our members include:
IAMERS, iFixit, The Service Industry Association, The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, ASCDI, Open Technology Institute, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Tradeloop, Fixit Clinic, The Fixers’ Collective, Public Knowledge, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers and many other repair businesses.
For more information about The Repair Association, contact:
Executive Director of The Repair Association