Minnesota passes a right to repair bill that actually matters

Posted:
in General Discussion
The right to repair the devices consumers own is a touchy subject, but for fans of the idea in Minnesota, there's good news.

Apple repair program
Apple repair program


In April of this year, both houses in the Minnesota Legislature passed right to repair language that's part of a larger bill. It is designed to give those living within the state more repair options in general.

The Digital Fair Repair Act allows Minnesotans to choose how they get their devices repaired, whether independently, with a third-party shop, or with the manufacturer directly. And now the bill has passed.

Governor Walz signed the bill today, and the law will go into effect beginning July 1, 2024. It will apply to most consumer products produced after July 1, 2021, with a few exceptions.

The exceptions to the new bill are as follows:

  • Video game consoles

  • Farm equipment

  • Medical devices

  • Motor vehicles

  • Cybersecurity tools

The bill does cover smartphones, tablets, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, smart home devices, smart watches, electronic toys, blenders, and more. Even smart sneakers are included.

Once the bill goes into effect, manufacturers will be required to offer up various resources for people living in Minnesota. That includes the same parts, tools, and documentation that manufacturers use with their repair processes.

This offers more options for Minnesota residents and independent repair shops, as they will get the same resources. Moreover, the law dictates that manufacturers must offer these resources for free -- even to folks outside Minnesota.

iFixit's CEO, Kyle Wiens, praised the new bill:
"The repair revolution arrived in Minnesota today! Now independent repair shops can compete, and everyone who wants can fix things themselves. With online documentation, people everywhere in the world-- not just in Minnesota-- will benefit from this. Manufacturers, get ready. Everyone else, get fixing."
Right-to-repair efforts have also cropped up in other states to varying degrees of success. In December of last year, for instance, New York State passed a right to repair bill that many deemed "toothless."

Compared to New York's, Minnesota's bill has some major differences, including business-to-business and business-to-government sales, which means schools with aging or failing laptops can get them fixed. Circuit boards are also included in the Minnesota bill, something not present in New York's.

Apple has pushed back against the right-to-repair efforts for quite some time, citing all sorts of reasons, including safety for the consumer. However, the company launched its own Self Service Repair program for iPhones last year.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,385member
    This law will probably be struck down fairly quickly in a court challenge, since the state overstepped its jurisdiction by mandating that manufacturers must provide the same parts, tools, and documentation to unqualified people *for free* (state governments cannot mandate business to give stuff away for free), and mandating that this must be provided outside Minnesota also (Minnesota has zero authority to dictate this outside Minnesota).

    I’m not against amateur/enthusiast repair for certain kinds of repair that can be done safely, but as usual the zealots of this movement go too far. Most people are 100 percent *not equipped* if they puncture a swollen battery while trying to remove it, and it explodes or starts a fire. Do you think they’ll sue *themselves* for being incompetent, or the *lawmakers* who allowed them to engage in risky repairs? Oh hell no, they’ll sue *Apple* of course.

    Apple has little choice but to fight this in court. This law as written is incompetent and dangerous.
    williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 19
    applguyapplguy Posts: 235member
    Why do video game consoles get a pass and smart watches don't? It's arguably easier to replace a component in a console than a smart watch battery or screen. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft did a good job lobbing.
    danoxwilliamlondonstompyStrangeDays
  • Reply 3 of 19
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,066member
    chasm said:
    This law will probably be struck down fairly quickly in a court challenge, since the state overstepped its jurisdiction by mandating that manufacturers must provide the same parts, tools, and documentation to unqualified people *for free* (state governments cannot mandate business to give stuff away for free), and mandating that this must be provided outside Minnesota also (Minnesota has zero authority to dictate this outside Minnesota).

    I’m not against amateur/enthusiast repair for certain kinds of repair that can be done safely, but as usual the zealots of this movement go too far. Most people are 100 percent *not equipped* if they puncture a swollen battery while trying to remove it, and it explodes or starts a fire. Do you think they’ll sue *themselves* for being incompetent, or the *lawmakers* who allowed them to engage in risky repairs? Oh hell no, they’ll sue *Apple* of course.

    Apple has little choice but to fight this in court. This law as written is incompetent and dangerous.
    Great create a black market for stolen parts overnight…..
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,320member
    applguy said:
    Why do video game consoles get a pass and smart watches don't? It's arguably easier to replace a component in a console than a smart watch battery or screen. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft did a good job lobbing.

    You answered your own question. Lobbying. That's how farm equipment was exempted as well.
    williamlondonstompyStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 19
    mike1 said:
    applguy said:
    Why do video game consoles get a pass and smart watches don't? It's arguably easier to replace a component in a console than a smart watch battery or screen. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft did a good job lobbing.

    You answered your own question. Lobbying. That's how farm equipment was exempted as well.

    No, applguy said "lobbing". The way to get government on your side is to throw things at them! :p
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Dumb law. Dumb issue. The entire 'right to repair' thinking is stuck in the 17th century for gads sake. Move along. The future is different than the past!
    williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 19
    looplessloopless Posts: 338member
    Dumb law. Dumb issue. The entire 'right to repair' thinking is stuck in the 17th century for gads sake. Move along. The future is different than the past!
    Exactly, it's catering to a tiny, tiny fraction of the community and I think is more motivated by a misguided desire to poke big tech in the face.
    Interesting farm equipment is exempted. Not everyone knows, but farmers get royally screwed over by the manufacturers. They are forced to pay $$$$ and wait , often a long time, for their equipment to be fixed. Obviously the lobbyists for the farm equipment companies were busy!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Farming equipment is a glaring omission.
    dewme
  • Reply 9 of 19
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,270member
    Wait, so I can setup a repair shop in Minnesota and get all the equipment free from Apple and Samsung?? Nice!!

    I had to actually look up smart sneakers. I can't believe I haven't read about them anytime in the past 3-4 years.
    edited May 2023
  • Reply 10 of 19
    kaarmekaarme Posts: 6member
    chasm said:
    This law will probably be struck down fairly quickly in a court challenge, since the state overstepped its jurisdiction by mandating that manufacturers must provide the same parts, tools, and documentation to unqualified people *for free* (state governments cannot mandate business to give stuff away for free), and mandating that this must be provided outside Minnesota also (Minnesota has zero authority to dictate this outside Minnesota).

    I’m not against amateur/enthusiast repair for certain kinds of repair that can be done safely, but as usual the zealots of this movement go too far. Most people are 100 percent *not equipped* if they puncture a swollen battery while trying to remove it, and it explodes or starts a fire. Do you think they’ll sue *themselves* for being incompetent, or the *lawmakers* who allowed them to engage in risky repairs? Oh hell no, they’ll sue *Apple* of course.

    Apple has little choice but to fight this in court. This law as written is incompetent and dangerous.

    Here's what the actual bill says about the cost:
    " costs that are fair to both parties;"
    "costs that are equivalent to the lowest actual cost for which the original equipment
    manufacturer offers the tool, software, or documentation to an authorized repair provider,
    including any discount, rebate, or other financial incentive offered to an authorized repair
    provider;"
    Where exactly in the bill does it say that you have to provide the parts, tools and documentation for free? Because I sure can't find it.

    You're wilfully ignoring the core purpose of the bill; to enable independent repair professionals, not amateurs, to do their job. People with professional experience and training. These repair professionals are often far more skilled and educated than the average apple tech, and have better equipment, enabling them to do things like board level repair and data recovery.

    A car is a far more dangerous piece of equipment to repair and people aren't suing car companies because they blew up their own car or drove one off a cliff. Yes, frivolous lawsuits are possible, anyone can sue anyone for any reason. You can use almost any everyday object in a self destructive way. The idea that that somehow removes personal agency is nonsensical, there's a lot more risky things you can do in life than change a battery.

    Even if we decided that we should restrict repair, it should be the job of an actual legal authority not the manufactuer. Especially Apple, with their history of leaking nudes of repair customers.

    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,496member
    Farming equipment is a glaring omission.
    Yeah, the omissions make it very clear who is really funding the bill.
    williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 19
    kaarme said: Where exactly in the bill does it say that you have to provide the parts, tools and documentation for free? Because I sure can't find it.
    AppleInsider's write-up on the law makes that claim. From the link to the actual law, that does appear to be wrong.

    "Once the bill goes into effect, manufacturers will be required to offer up various resources for people living in Minnesota. That includes the same parts, tools, and documentation that manufacturers use with their repair processes.

    This offers more options for Minnesota residents and independent repair shops, as they will get the same resources. Moreover, the law dictates that manufacturers must offer these resources for free -- even to folks outside Minnesota."
  • Reply 13 of 19
    teejay2012teejay2012 Posts: 392member
    kaarme said:
     Especially Apple, with their history of leaking nudes of repair customers.
    Your comment points seemed reasonable but then you suggest that this one case represents an Apple SOP. Earns a double face palm...

    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 19
    jroyjroy Posts: 29member
    Although I agree that this law is appropriate overall, it’s outrageous that farm equipment is exempted. Farmers have been forced to wildly overpay for certain repairs that manufacturers require the manufacturers to make. For decades. I would have expected a repair rights law to be passed for farm equipment years ago, even before most people wanted to repair their phones. There are many farmers in Minnesota - and their state representatives have apparently been bought by farm equipment manufacturers on this issue. Hope the farmers start their own lobbying, hard. This law sets a good precedent for action on repair, exclusion of farm equipment seems like an obvious injustice to rally people around. 
  • Reply 15 of 19
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,066member
    jroy said:
    Although I agree that this law is appropriate overall, it’s outrageous that farm equipment is exempted. Farmers have been forced to wildly overpay for certain repairs that manufacturers require the manufacturers to make. For decades. I would have expected a repair rights law to be passed for farm equipment years ago, even before most people wanted to repair their phones. There are many farmers in Minnesota - and their state representatives have apparently been bought by farm equipment manufacturers on this issue. Hope the farmers start their own lobbying, hard. This law sets a good precedent for action on repair, exclusion of farm equipment seems like an obvious injustice to rally people around. 
    The gentleman Farmer is going the way of the dodo…..
  • Reply 16 of 19
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 399member
    Some repairs might require testing afterwards to ensure that regulatory requirements continue to be met. That's not a DIY job. I went through this discussion with hospital repair staff regarding defibrillators and patient monitors. Some repairs required safety testing and our company could not allow those repairs to be done by the customer unless they took full legal liability. The same was true for any repair that might affect FCC compliance, UL certification, etc. Some of our customer hospitals took on those legal liabilities to reduce their repair costs. Many of them returned to us later, realizing that the cost of achieving regulatory compliance was beyond their budget.

    While iPhones and the like are not likely to present the sort of safety hazards as DIY repaired medical instrumentation, it seems plausible that some regulated aspect of an Apple product's performance could be compromised by a shoddy repair. This issue isn't as cut-and-dry as many thing.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    While I appreciate the idea of enabling independent repair professionals, I can also see concerns about inexperienced individuals attempting risky repairs. It'll be interesting to see how this law plays out. 

    Also, you all are right about the farming equipment. It looks like they've passed this law to divert the attention from the actual issues. a
  • Reply 18 of 19
    kaarmekaarme Posts: 6member
    kaarme said:
     Especially Apple, with their history of leaking nudes of repair customers.
    Your comment points seemed reasonable but then you suggest that this one case represents an Apple SOP. Earns a double face palm...

    Where did I say that it represents an apple SOP? The point is that apple, like any other repair provider is capable of making mistakes, so there is nothing that makes them holy or special compared to many other repair providers, and in a free market the consumer is free to make a purchase decision based on any arbitary whim. An arbitor shouldn't have a conflict of interest, and it especially shouldn't be possible for it to also be the plaintiff. And that's what apple is in this situation: an entity that decides who is competent to repair, but also potentially capable of being an incompetent repair service itself.

    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 19
    kaarmekaarme Posts: 6member
    bsimpsen said:
    Some repairs might require testing afterwards to ensure that regulatory requirements continue to be met. That's not a DIY job. I went through this discussion with hospital repair staff regarding defibrillators and patient monitors. Some repairs required safety testing and our company could not allow those repairs to be done by the customer unless they took full legal liability. The same was true for any repair that might affect FCC compliance, UL certification, etc. Some of our customer hospitals took on those legal liabilities to reduce their repair costs. Many of them returned to us later, realizing that the cost of achieving regulatory compliance was beyond their budget.

    While iPhones and the like are not likely to present the sort of safety hazards as DIY repaired medical instrumentation, it seems plausible that some regulated aspect of an Apple product's performance could be compromised by a shoddy repair. This issue isn't as cut-and-dry as many thing.
    You can always outsource the job and certification to a trustworthy independent repair provider.

    With medical there's a clear legal reasoning and consequence as people can be physically hurt by bad equipment, hence why it's expected to be heavily regulated. With phones, well, you yourself can't come up with such a regulation. The only such regulation that I can think of is radio regulation, and I find it hard to believe that it's possible to create serious radio interference with a phone of all things without it being deliberate. Actual radio equipment is freely available on the market anyway, not to mention self built radios in the ham radio community.

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