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Article filed under Zero Waste & Economic Development

The Right to Repair our Gadgets – Wall Street Journal

| Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Sep 10, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

People can fight back against planned obsolescence by fixing the tech we already own, but the consumer electronics industry isn’t making it easy.

There’s a fight brewing between giant tech companies and tinkerers that could impact how we repair gadgets or choose the shop where we get it done by a pro. At issue: Who owns the knowledge required to take apart and repair TVs, phones and other electronics?

Manufacturers stop us by controlling repair plans and limiting access to parts. Some even employ digital software locks to keep us from making changes or repairs. This may not always be planned obsolescence, but it’s certainly intentional obfuscation.

Thankfully, the Internet is making it harder for them to get away with it. My first stop with Shira’s TV, a 2008 model, was Samsung itself. On its website, I registered the TV and described what was broken.

Read the full story here from the Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2015

More Resources:

Read our article, Repair & re-sell: Do you have the right to fix your own gadgets?,  by Sophia Bennett, February 14, 2015

Read the New York Times editorial, Patent Law Shouldn’t Block the Sale of Used Tech Products, September. 7, 2015

Find out more about the issue by visiting the Digital Right to Repair Coalition

About Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Recycling and Economic Growth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and is a member of ILSR’s Board of Directors.

Contact Neil   |   View all articles by Neil Seldman