In recent times there has been proposals for the “right to repair”. Basically the idea is that customers shouldn’t be penalized if they choose to take their devices to a third-party repair service which is often cheaper than going through official channels. Now it looks like a new set of rules proposed by the Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office has made it easier.
According to the report from Motherboard, these newly proposed rules are saying that you can now legally hack the DRM of your device if the goal of doing so is to repair it. DRMs are put into place to prevent intellectual property theft, such as DRMs in digital songs which prevents songs from being copied onto another computer, burnt onto a CD, or played on an unauthorized device.
However this new ruling means that you can hack the DRM of certain electronics if the goal is to fix it, and that the DRM was getting in the way and preventing you from doing so. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, and smart home appliances, just to name a few.
That being said, Motherboard points out that just because it is now legal to hack your way past a device’s DRM doesn’t mean that it will be easy to do so. Companies are getting better at coming up with ways that prevent bypassing DRMs, such as Apple’s new MacBook Pros that require a connection and confirmation by Apple’s servers that a repair has been authorized, otherwise the laptop could cease to function, so exactly how that can be bypassed is unclear.