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  • April 13, 2021

Exclusive: Colorado Denied Its Citizens the Right-To-Repair After Riveting Testimony

 Exclusive: Colorado Denied Its Citizens the Right-To-Repair After Riveting Testimony


A right-to-repair bill died in the Colorado state legislature on March 25, 2021. After almost three hours of testimony from business leaders, disabled advocates, and a 9-year-old activist, legislators said there were too many unanswered questions and that the proposed law was too broad. Motherboard reports: Colorado’s proposed right-to-repair law was simple and clear. At 11 pages, the legislation spent most of its word count defining terms, but the gist was simple: It would let people fix their own stuff without needing to resort to the manufacturer and force said manufacturer to support people who want to fix stuff. “For the purpose of providing services for digital electronic equipment sold or used in this state, an original equipment manufacturer shall, with fair and reasonable terms and cost, make available to an independent repair provider or owner of the manufacturer’s equipment any documentation, parts, embedded software, firmware, or tools that are intended for use with the digital electronic equipment, including updates to documentation, information, or embedded software,” the proposed bill said.

The Colorado House Business Affairs & Labor committee met to consider the law on March 25. Twelve legislators voted to indefinitely postpone considering the bill. Only one voted for it. “I still have a lot of questions. I still have a lot of concerns,” Rep. Monica Duran (D) said at the end of the committee hearing. She voted no on the bill. It was a stunning statement given just how many people testified on behalf of the right-to-repair legislation and how few questions the committee asked them. […] In their own comments, the legislators repeated lines Apple and other companies often use to defend their repair monopolies. Shannon Bird (D), for example, said that manufacturers have the right to dictate how a customer uses its product. She stressed that Apple can sell licenses to whatever it wants. “Apple Music is different than purchasing a CD,” she said. “I have a hard time believing that we would call it Apple having a monopoly on its own product.”

Many of the legislators on the committee conflated the repair market with the phone market itself. Others said that a right-to-repair bill would increase the cost of phones for everyone. Rep. Steven Woodrow (D), a sponsor of the bill, explained why this didn’t make any sense. “We’re not talking about the market for phones. We’re talking about the market for repairs, it’s a secondary market,” he said. “By restricting competition in that market they’re engaged in manipulation. The cost should go down. By allowing for repairs you’re increasing the supply. Basic econ says that as the supply increases the price decreases.”



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