Copyright key on a keyboard.

Medical device manufacturer Steris sent a letter to iFixit demanding repair manuals be removed from the firm’s website. | mtkang/Shutterstock

Repair support organization iFixit has received a threatening letter from a medical device manufacturer, which is alleging copyright infringement.

Steris sent a letter to iFixit demanding the organization remove from its website repair information for Steris equipment. The information is posted as part of iFixit’s effort to make medical device repair information available to hospitals to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posting a copy of the letter, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens wrote on Twitter, “I received a threatening letter from Steris, a medical device manufacturer unhappy that we are helping hospitals repair their equipment.” The May 26 letter alleges iFixit reproduced Steris installation and maintenance manuals in violation of copyright law, and it demands iFixit remove them within 10 days.

“It is imperative that we do everything in our power to assist our medical professionals right now,” Wiens noted on Twitter.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) responded to Steris on iFixit’s behalf, noting that iFixit will not remove the manuals and arguing the sharing of information is protected by federal law.

“Medical care and the maintenance of medical devices are too important to let overreaching copyright claims get in the way,” EFF’s Kit Walsh wrote. “We at EFF are proud to be able to support iFixit and we hope that the device manufacturers will let the repair community continue to do its vital work instead of wasting everyone’s time with unfounded legal threats.”

Motherboard wrote about the dispute in a June 16 article.

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