Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.
In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.
Allowing them to continue to fix their cars has become “legally problematic,” according to a written statement from the Auto Alliance, the main lobbying arm of automakers.
The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars.