A “right to repair” movement tools up

AS DEVICES go, smartphones and tractors are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. And an owner of a chain of mobile-device repair shops and a farmer of corn and soyabeans do not usually have much in common. But Jason DeWater and Guy Mills are upset for the same reason. “Even we can no longer fix the home button of an iPhone,” says Mr DeWater, a former musician who has turned his hobby of tinkering into a business based in Omaha, Nebraska. “If we had a problem with our John Deere, we could fix it ourselves. No longer,” explains Mr Mills whose farm in Ansley, a three-hour drive to the west, spreads over nearly 4,000 acres.

Messrs DeWater and Mills have more and more company. It includes not just fellow repairmen and farmers, but owners of all kinds of gear, including washing machines, coffee makers and even toys. All are becoming exceedingly difficult to fix—which has given rise to a movement fighting for a “right to repair”. In America the movement has already managed to get relevant...



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