Eric Johnson Needs a Nanny

Eric Johnson has trouble keeping track of instruction manuals that are packaged with the various products he buys.  He would like to see manufacturers label their products with a URL that points to a downloadable replacement manual.  Not too bad of an idea, is it?  In fact, having replacement instruction manuals online is such a good idea, many (if not most) manufacturers already do this.

But, Eric Johnson is so incredibly incompetent when it comes to keeping track of instruction manuals (and I guess pretty bad at operating most consumer products) that he thinks the federal government ought to force manufacturers to put manuals online:

All commercial manufacturers of consumer products that are sold with instructions, manuals or other such documentation shall permanently label such products with a URL web address where consumers may download copies of the documentation. The Federal Trade Commission shall have the authority to promulgate regulations under this Act and to bring enforcement actions.

Yes, that’s right, Eric Johnson wants the federal government to force manufacturers to protect him from his own disorganization:

The law I’m proposing would unclutter offices and homes. On an individual level, that would be a substantial convenience. But considered cumulatively over several years and millions of consumers, the economic benefit in productivity gained and time saved time would be significant —  more than enough to make a law worthwhile

So, who is this nanny state advocate?  Eric Johnson is a professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law, where he teaches torts, IP, and entertainment law.

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2 Responses to “Eric Johnson Needs a Nanny”

  1. Paladin Says:

    Doesn’t this solution save people a lot of time, and save a lot of trees? Lots less need to print manuals, or reprint/redistribute them, if they’re online.

  2. bl1y Says:

    Yes. I do agree that this would be a great thing for companies to do. The question is whether the federal government ought to force them to do it.

    Coca-cola is better with Jack Daniels in it, but I think you should still have the option of buying it soft.

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