FTC, DOJ promote consumers’ right to repair

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice back changes to copyright rules that would give consumers’ more legal room to either repair products themselves or hire independent businesses to fix them.

In a press release, the FTC announced that the agencies issued a joint comment in response to the U.S. Copyright Office’s rulemaking under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA limits access to copyrighted works, and exemptions to that law would facilitate consumers’ right to repair. Specifically, the new exceptions to the DMCA would help to overcome manufacturers’ technology that limit consumers’ ability to fix their own products.

“In the Agencies’ view, renewing and expanding repair-related exemptions would promote competition in markets for replacement parts, repair, and maintenance services, as well as facilitate competition in markets for repairable products. Promoting competition in repair markets benefits consumers and workers because it makes it easier and cheaper to fix things you own,” the agencies said in their submitted comment. 

An October 2023 White House convening of federal agencies and others marked a joint Administration effort to foster consumers’ right to repair across industry sectors. 

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