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Thread: GM, Ford, And Others Exploiting DMCA to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal!

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    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    GM, Ford, And Others Exploiting DMCA to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal!

    You can't make this stuff up...

    http://news.boldride.com/2015/04/gm-...illegal/76702/

    GM, Ford, And Others Want to Make Working on Your Own Car Illegal

    Boldride
    Jeff Perez
    April 22, 2015

    One of the inherent rights of owning a vehicle is the ability to get on one’s backside — a wrench in one hand and a grease rag in the other, and just tinker to your little heart’s desire. Since the vehicle was invented, it’s been an important facet within the community of gearheads.

    General Motors — the same company responsible for 87 deaths related to faulty ignition switches, FYI — wants to take that right away from you citing safety and security issues. Along with a few other big names.

    It’s called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It’s been around since 2000 and started as anti-Internet piracy legislation. But automakers want to use it to try and make working on your own car illegal. Yes, illegal. The general premise is that unlike cars of the past, today’s vehicles are so advanced and use such a large amount of software and coding in their general makeup, altering said code could be dangerous and possibly even malicious.

    Listing the vehicle as a “mobile computing device,” the law would hypothetically protect automakers from pesky owners looking to alter any sort of technology in the vehicle that relates to the onboard computer. Flashing your ECU would be a big no no, which could also lead to all sorts of problems for aftermarket shops.

    What GM, and even tractor companies like John Deere, argues is that you, as an owner, don’t actually own your car. Rather, you’re sort of just borrowing it for an extended amount of time and paying for the rights to use the technology. If it sounds ridiculous— it is. But it gets even more ludicrous.

    According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Deere argued that “letting people modify car computer systems will result in them pirating music through the on-board entertainment system.”

    That’s right— pirating music. Through a tractor.

    DMCA does give a little bit of leeway, though. While the act could hypothetically lock customers out of key safety features, it would still allow owners the ability to repair other areas of the vehicle’s onboard computer as they see fit. It’s a slim compromise, but one that may be more closely based in reality.

    As it currently sits, there are 13 (!) large automakers on the list supporting the DMCA. Want to know who they are? Of course you do:

    General Motors Company
    BMW Group
    FCA US LLC
    Ford Motor Company
    Jaguar Land Rover
    Mazda
    Mercedes-Benz USA
    Mitsubishi Motors
    Porsche
    Toyota
    Volkswagen Group of America
    Volvo Cars North America

    Ironically, one of the brands that relies most on technology in its vehicles — Tesla Motors — in not in support of DMCA. While other American companies like GM, Ford and Chrysler all agree that working on your own vehicle should be punishable by law.

    Funny how three brands that pride themselves on American ingenuity don’t want customers to work on their cars.

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    Verified VCDS User roth's Avatar
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    I wonder what's in it for them. Obviously such a law will make those cars less attractive. I can understand big 3 but Toyota (?), was thinking it was doing OK.

    BR, Andy
    Skype ag6167

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    Verified VCDS User NZDubNurd's Avatar
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    I work in our Hospitals Clinical Engineering Department. We maintain service and repair around US$25M of equipment, in a regional population of 160,000 spread over 4 hospitals. The critical stuff is VERY specific about what you can and cannot do, and the testing is so thorough, that life-threatening failures are VERY, VERY, VERY rare. In the event of a life-threatening failure, there is a backup system or process.

    If the cars are not allowed to be worked on by ourselves, I hope they're as well tested, regulated, backed-up and expensive as medical stuff. I sure won't be buying one! They'd better have DAMN good backup, so if something goes wrong, it's fixed at least as fast as I can on the roadside.

    Besides - I wouldn't trust my Touran (or BMW, Ford, or Beetle) to the dealer either - I personally know 2 people with Golf TDI DSG's, that had trans failures - one in warranty, one JUST out. Both were told their transmissions weren't covered, as they hadn't been serviced at the required interval. The dealer told them this. The SAME dealer who serviced the cars, and didn't perform the DSG services..... They were covered in the end

    I'm not convinced I'll buy anything much newer than our 2006 Touran. The amount of failures in modern cars is amazing.

    There is a LOT to be said for the basics, and I have experience in BASIC, less basic and unbasic:



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    Man you guys up there live in an interesting country!!

    If the fundamental paradigms of a buy-sell deal are to be reinterpreted and if you never really own a car that you purchased ( i.e. you only paid for the leasing rights for the intellectual property associated with the car's smarts), is there a reciprocal argument to be mounted regarding the purchase price? That is: the monies paid for the car is never really owned by the dealer - it is just loaned to the dealer for the period of the IP leasing arrangement, and it should be refunded to the purchaser when the IP leasing product is no longer required by the car owner?

    Hmm..... strange times indeed!!
    Last edited by DV52; 04-23-2015 at 07:42 PM.
    VW Golf MkVII (103TSI) my13

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    Benevolent Dictator Uwe's Avatar
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    I can't imagine this surviving a court challenge. Cellphone makers tried similar tactics and failed in the courts. If you own the hardware, you can do as you wish with it, including root/jailbreak it, flash some other software on it, or whatever.

    -Uwe-
    Ceterum censeo, delenda est Daesh.

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    Ross-Tech Employee Jef's Avatar
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    The more VW tries to lock out people, the worse they make it at the dealer level. Remember that smooth transition of removing information from VESIS and putting it into Guided Functions?
    Jef
    Ross Tech Support Team, Alpha Squad
    Auto-Scan, learn it, love it, live it... then check the fuses.

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    Verified VCDS User roth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jef View Post
    The more VW tries to lock out people, the worse they make it at the dealer level. Remember that smooth transition of removing information from VESIS and putting it into Guided Functions?
    Locking out people, pretty bad idea. Thing is they are not the only game in town, might backfire. People like choices, control of their belongings, pretty basic thing. Considering spotty VAG reliability record, planned obsolescence, this might be yet another turn off steering public into Japanese cars or maybe even Chinese (in the near future).

    Andy
    Skype ag6167

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    Verified VCDS User roth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uwe View Post
    I can't imagine this surviving a court challenge. Cellphone makers tried similar tactics and failed in the courts. If you own the hardware, you can do as you wish with it, including root/jailbreak it, flash some other software on it, or whatever.

    -Uwe-
    YEAH, Galaxy S5, rooted and flashed with custom ROM in a first week of ownership .

    Andy
    Skype ag6167

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    Verified VCDS User vreihen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roth View Post
    Considering spotty VAG reliability record, planned obsolescence, this might be yet another turn off steering public into Japanese cars or maybe even Chinese (in the near future).
    ...or maybe even a startup American car manufacturer that gives away service information and firmware source code to attract the customers that are turned away from the locked-down vehicles and their shrink-wrapped EULA?

    Regarding the insanity of this proposal, I'm sure there are lawyers salivating at the thought of filing lawsuits against the auto manufacturers because they are the actual owners of vehicles that are involved in accidents. I guess that also means that the manufacturer is responsible for recycling the vehicle at the end of it's life, cleaning up that fluid spill that polluted someone's well, and the cap-and-trade payments from all of the pollution belched from their entire fleet of vehicles?????

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    Ross-Tech Employee Sebastian's Avatar
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    The keywords are "flash some other software" as well as "safety and liability".

    Tuning/flashing ECM software, the "new" software is always based on an original one with (usually) nothing but modified maps. So that modification of sb. else's work can IMO be looked at as a copyright violation. Now if tuners would actually write ALL the ECM software, from scratch or base their work on an open source solution (like it's done with Android ROMs) this becomes a different scenario.

    As for safety and liability, does anyone here actually think some 3rd party can come up with an as well tested and thought through ESP or Airbag software which is then not just generic enough to be installed in all controllers out there but also all vehicle models and possible crash scenarios?
    Sebastian @ Ross-Tech.com // VCDS Rookie since 2003

    »Nichts erweitert das eigene Wissen mehr,
    als die Meinung eines Andersdenkenden.«

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