The “right-to-repair” movement has continued to intensify over the years, but if you’re in favor of this movement, you just scored a big win. The Librarian of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office have proposed the introduction of new laws that will allow both customers and independent repair shops to legally hack the software on their devices in order to do repairs or maintenance.
What does this mean exactly? Well, it means that people are free to digital rights management (DRM) as well as embedded software locks that prevent them from conducting repairs.
When going over the huge 85-page document, you see a lot of details on new exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). While comprehensive, there’s a lot covered, such as a section that’s dedicated to video games and legally own them: “when the copyright owner or its authorized representative has ceased to provide access to an external computer server necessary to facilitate an authentication process to enable gameplay.” In these types of situations, copying and modification of programs is permitted “to restore access to the game for personal, local gameplay on a personal computer or video game console.”
While those in favor see this as a victory, the battle is not over. Tech companies with deep pockets will not like this and will not go down without a big fight. After all, those deep pockets allow them a lot of leverage.