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Pirates: Right to repair must also apply to digital devices!

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

Today, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) called for a “right to repair”.[1] Software functionality updates should be reversible and not lead to diminished performance of the device, the report says. For MEP Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party), the paper does not go far enough:

“We Pirates want users to have control over the technology they use in their daily lives. Users need the right to modify and repair devices. Copyright and patent rights of manufacturers must no longer stand in the way!

While commercial manufacturers of IT devices must provide updates for a reasonable period of time according to current laws, there is so far no obligation to patch known vulnerabilities in a timely manner. There is also a lack of manufacturer liability for the often devastating consequences of such vulnerabilities.

When a manufacturer decides to abandon a product that is still in widespread use, the source code and development tools should have to be made public to allow the community to maintain it.

Pirates will continue to advocate for the rights of the consumer, something that has long become lost in the intellectual property debate with corporate interests having steamrollered the development of intellectual property law.”

The EU Commission is considering proposing a draft law on a right to repair in the third quarter of 2022. According to a Eurobarometer survey, 79% of EU citizens believe that manufacturers should be obliged to facilitate the repair of digital devices or the replacement of their individual parts, and 77% would rather have their devices repaired than replaced.

[1] Report, press release