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National right to repair legislation introduced in the House

Credit: AppleCredit: Apple

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A lawmaker has introduced a new piece of legislation in the U.S. House that could force companies to provide repair information and resources to consumers and third-party technicians.

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) on Thursday introduced the Fair Repair Act, which requires device manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information, parts, and tools to third-party repair shops "in a timely manner and on fair and reasonable terms."

Additionally, the bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to carry out enforcement by penalizing violators.

The goal, according to Rep. Morelle's office, is to empower small businesses and consumers to be self-reliant in the ability to fix their own devices without needing to go through official manufacturer or authorized repair channels.

"For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment," said Rep. Morelle. "This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve."

Although this is far from the first right to repair legislation, it is the first broad bill introduced to Congress. That means it could potentially have a national impact.

Currently, state-level right to repair bills are being considered by nearly half of the states in the U.S. Earlier in June, the New York State Senate voted 51-12 to pass right to repair legislation. That bill first needs to clear the New York Assembly and the governor before becoming state law.

Apple has aggressively fought right to repair legislation across the U.S. for years, citing concerns about consumer safety and device security. A right to repair bill in California, for example, was shelved after pressure from Apple and other major companies.

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