Car Manufacturers Dealt DMCA Setback by U.S. Copyright Office

business_ethics_highlights_2As we noted earlier (see link below), U.S. automakers have been invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to claim that modifying the code that controls, e.g., your car’s fuel injection system is a violation of copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office, however, has just ruled that the fair-use exception covers these activities. Consequently, General Motors and John Deere (mentioned prominently in the previous article we linked to) will have to find other ways to claw back the property rights of their customers. This is a demonstration that, as ideas become relatively more valuable than physical objects, our conceptions of what a product is, what a merchant sells, and what a customer buys are in flux. >>>

LINK: Victory! Carmakers Can’t Use The DMCA To Make Working On Your Car Illegal (by Raphael Orlove in The Garage)

Possibly the most bizarre application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act finally got the exemption us car enthusiasts have deserved.

Recently some automakers (with support from the EPA of all places) tried to argue that they own the code in your car, and messing with that code would violate their copyright.

Specifically, the Copyright Office said such copies and mods constitutes “noninfringing activity as a matter of fair use and/or under the exception set forth insection 117 of the Copyright Act, which permits the owner of a copy of a computerprogram to make certain copies and adaptations of the program.”

See also: Who Owns “Your” Tractor or Car?

What do you think?


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