IFixit has received a letter in which a company claims that the website has infringed copyrights by putting online a database with all kinds of manuals for various ventilators and other medical devices.
iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens has the letter with the allegation put online. This comes from Steris, a manufacturer of medical devices. In that letter, the company writes that Wiens has reproduced certain installation and maintenance manuals related to Steris products. According to the company, this is copyright infringement. Steris therefore wants Wiens to stop doing this and remove all copyrighted Steris materials from the website within ten days.
According to Wiens, Steris is ‘dissatisfied that we are helping hospitals to repair their devices’. He says he is disappointed that Steris is now turning to legal threats to prevent hospitals from accessing information on how to maintain critical sterilization equipment during a pandemic. He says he got the idea to put service manuals online when he read stories about ventilator shortages in Italy. Wiens saw people working with 3D printers to make parts for ventilators, for example, and sees the database as a way to help with this.
In response to Steris’ letter, iFixit has drawn up a letter in which the organization discusses the so-called Medical Device Repair Database. In it, iFixit states that the database has been widely hailed as an important resource for saving lives during the corona pandemic. In addition, the organization states that the database does not violate US laws and regulations. IFixit has not yet removed any document from the database.
Motherboard reported in March that major manufacturers have long made it difficult to get their devices repaired by third parties, including through lobbying against the right to repair and restrictive software locks that restrict only authorized companies or individuals from making modifications or repairs. to carry out. Vice also recently reported on a technician who had to repair ventilators in the context of the covid-19 crisis; he indicated that he had trouble getting parts or manuals from manufacturers.