iFixit Targets McDonald’s Troubled Ice Cream Machines For Its Right-To-Repair Program

iFixit targets McDonald’s troubled ice cream machines for its right-to-repair program. The company wants Congress to allow it to hack and gain access to the ice cream machines of McDonald.

iFixit Targets McDonald’s Troubled Machines

iFixit Targets McDonald’s Troubled Machines

The ice cream machines of McDonald’s are so notorious for breaking that it has reportedly become a meme. But right about now, we may just have some glimmer of Shamrock Shake-flavored hope as not only has iFixit performed a teardown of the machines of McDonald’s, but it is also petitioning the government to allow it to create the parts that are required for people to fix them.

And just as shown in a video that was posted to YouTube, iFixit bought the same ice cream machine model that is used by McDonald’s and then spent hours trying to get it up and running. The machine in question spits out numerous error codes that iFixit stated “are nonsensical, counterintuitive, and seemingly random, even if you spent hours reading the manual.”

The Complications iFixit is Having with McDonald’s

And despite consisting of “easily replaceable parts,” like three printed circuit boards, a motor and belt, as well as a heat exchanger, the ice cream machine as you should know can only be fixed by its manufacturer which in this case is Taylor due to an agreement that it has with McDonald’s. While a company on the other hand called Kytch attempted to remedy this simply by creating a product to read ice cream machine error codes, iFixit stated that McDonald’s “sent a letter to all of the franchise owners” instructing them not to make use of the device.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

That is why the team of iFixit is taking things into their own hands. “We’d love to be able to make a device like Kytch that can read error codes on the ice cream machine we have, but we can’t because of copyright law,” Elizabeth Chamberlain, iFixit’s director of sustainability, in the video stated. The copyright law Chamberlain in question is referring to is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which as you should know prohibits people from circumventing controls or even digital locks to get access to a copyrighted work.

iFixit’s Petition For An Exemption To The Law For Ice Cream Machines

In order to get around this, iFixit and the nonprofit Public Knowledge filed an exemption to the law for ice cream machines, which is something iFixit has already done (and won) for Xboxes, tractors, and even smartphones. But iFixit however notes that even if it does receive the exemption, it still will not be able to distribute a tool that is designed to fix ice cream machines. Due to that very reason, it is also asking Congress to reintroduce the Freedom to Repair Act, which in case you don’t know is a law that would make it very much legal to bypass software locks as well as other measures to repair a product.

If Congress on the other hand does end up going through with these very changes, then we just may finally have a future where we don’t have to make use of a broken ice cream machine tracker just before we set out for a McFlurry.



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