Digital right to repair: You bought it, but do you own it?
The Ancient Romans had an adage, freely translated from Latin as “let the buyer beware.” In no uncertain terms, it implied that once you bought something, it was yours – including whatever troubles that might bring. However, nowadays, the act of purchasing something (software and electronics in particular) is encumbered by layers of legalese, which often means that you don’t really own what you just bought -- at least not in the sense that most people are accustomed to.
That has direct implications on the extent to which the “owner” is legally permitted to modify or repair a product and it is true for both consumers and for businesses. It is a situation that has prompted multiple groups to rally around a concept called the “digital right to repair.”