January 31, 2023
Primer: An Update on Right to Repair
New York recently enacted a comprehensive “right to repair” law, which would require device manufacturers, primarily those in the consumer technology sector, to provide manuals and parts to third-party repair services. In a new primer, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jeffrey Westling summarizes the current debate on right to repair and how New York legislation approaches this issue.
- Right to repair laws can provide consumers with more options to repair their devices, potentially lowering costs and extending the life of their property; granting third-party repair services access to parts and diagnostics could harm device manufacturers, however, as faulty repairs could harm brand trust, important trade secrets could become public, and device security could be jeopardized.
- The New York law balanced these concerns by not requiring manufacturers to provide information that would weaken the security of devices and allowing them to provide part assemblies rather than individual parts.
- As lawmakers across the country consider additional right to repair laws, they should evaluate these competing concerns and look to compromise legislation such as the New York law as a potential model.