Toshiba succeeds in fight against refurbisher

Toshiba succeeds in fight against refurbisher

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Toshiba repair manuals are no longer available online, following a cease-and-desist order stopping an Australian refurbisher from posting manuals covering the company's products.

Saying the manuals contain proprietary information and are only available to authorized service professionals, as well as concerns over consumer safety, Toshiba Australia Pty. has threatened legal action against the online repair manual repository Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, and its owner, Tim Hicks. Hicks was ordered to remove the copyrighted manuals from his website and destroy all backups and records of them following the original cease and desist order in July. After attempts to negotiate with the company were unsuccessful, the manuals were removed as of Nov. 10.

For his part, Hicks says that Dell, HP and Lenovo all provide their repair manuals for free online and that he has never had a problem with any other OEMs regarding his site.

"The clear message here is that unless you are an authorized Toshiba repairer, they do not want you anywhere near the information that would allow you to more easily service and repair your Toshiba products yourself," said Hicks, on a statement on his website.

The move has prompted a backlash from others in the repair and refurbishment community, many of whom regularly used the site to aid in their repair and refurbishment operations.

Writing for Wired, iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens was quick to praise Hicks' work, saying "the website benefits everyone from service technicians to nonprofit organizations like Computers for Schools. It also benefits a number of small and local businesses, since the manuals he posts fuel a number of repair shops – especially those doing service after the warranty expires."

Wiens also pointed out that electronics repair is held to a tougher standard, compared to other industries. "In the automotive world, federal legislation requires auto manufacturers to provide manuals to independent shops. Some organizations, like AllData and Mitchell 1, collect manuals from every manufacturer, bundle them together, and sell subscriptions — creating jobs for their over 100,000 mechanics. Independent shops wouldn't be able to repair modern cars without this information. Unfortunately, there's no equivalent legislation for electronics."

In response, iFixit is also backing what it calls Operation Fix Toshiba, which aims to raise money to create repair guides for Toshiba laptops. The company is also accepting donations of used Toshiba computers for the purposes of creating new repair guides.

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