Repairing your own car violates the copyright of others

Avatar

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

Related Post Roulette

74 Responses

  1. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    My kid prefers to work on small cars from the 1980’s through early 1990’s because of the problems of software and electrical systems.

    And then there’s Tesla.Report

  2. Avatar Road Scholar
    Ignored
    says:

    Yeah, this came up on my FB feed. What they’re basically trying to claim is that you don’t really “own” your tractor or car but just have a license to use it.

    I could sort of understand the point when it came to pure software but now they’re trying to extend the logic to the physical machine that the software is imbedded in. The weird thing is, if they’re successful, and they still own the thing, are they gonna pay the property taxes on it too?Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Road Scholar
      Ignored
      says:

      @road-scholar
      I could sort of understand the point when it came to pure software but now they’re trying to extend the logic to the physical machine that the software is imbedded in.

      No. Just no. You *do* own pure software.

      Here is the origin of that: Originally, copyright law forbid making copies of stuff. Copying software into memory was, indeed, making a copy, and hence would need a license. So software was licensed, because it *couldn’t* be sold, or at least couldn’t be sold and then used. (Because to use it, you have to make copies of it.)

      But copyright law noticed the problem, and there has been an exception for that for *decades*. It is perfectly, 100%, legal to purchase and install software and use it without any sort of license agreement. It’s still covered by copyright, and copyright allows you to install and use it, and even back it up. Copyright law is entirely rational here, and absolutely *no* contract is even vaguely required to protect the rights of the consumer *or* the rights of the copyright holder, anymore than a contract is needed for books or DVDs.

      However, because corporations are loath to ever give up the power they once had, they *kept issuing license agreements with software*, despite the fact these were not needed at all. In fact, they came up with this idiotic idea that software was ‘licensed’, not sold.

      In fact, such licenses, both shrink-wrapped and click-through, were probably illegal. You cannot sell something to someone for a stated purpose, take their money, and *then* require people to agree to a contract to use it for that purpose. Laws and contracts do not actually work that way. (Ironically, we’ve finally reached the point, thanks to the internet, where that sorta is becoming *hypothetically* legal, in that these agreements can be presented to people before purchase, which could make them legal *in theory*.)

      However, this stupidity continued to infect software to years. And now it’s infecting *other things*.

      The *entire concept* of ‘licensed, not sold’ is bogus in basically every circumstance. It’s an idea that came from a gap in software copyright *in the eighties*, and, I have to point out, was invented because users of software needed additional abilities that copyright law *did not allow*, so the users *needed* a license to do something extra. The legal foundation of using this *backwards*, to *restrict* abilities of users, is entirely missing. You cannot just restrict people by putting some text on their screen and making them click something before they can use things they already paid for.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, and when I say that originally software was licensed, I mean it *literally* was licensed.

        The people who wrote the software showed up the purchasing institute with a license agreement that someone then *signed*, with an actual pen, and in return the people providing the software would install and maintain it. You know, how actual contractual license agreements work.

        And then the public started getting computers and the software started getting sold to the public, and copyright law, in theory, didn’t let people install software, so these thin sort of ‘software licenses’ were invented…intended solely to grant end users the right to actually install the things, and not really taking away any rights. ‘Here is a piece of paper saying it’s okay to install the software on one computer and copy it into memory to run it.’ This was *more* than copyright law allowed, so of course people were okay with it.

        And then the law quickly changed, allowing that without a license, and…the industry somehow didn’t notice or care, and there are still people, to this day, insisting that software ‘must’ be licensed. No. It no more needs to be licensed than books need to be licensed.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Actually there’s plenty of places where software is still licensed. I’ve never worked anywhere that the CAD software was not licensed, for example.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            Technically, most engineering/CAD/CAM software is free (a lot of software firms will happily let you download the software for free), it’s the operation of the software that is licensed.

            For instance, where I work, anyone can download our software off our website, install it, and launch it. But if you don’t have a license, you’ll never be able to open or create a file with it. That license will cost you a chunk of change.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              @oscar-gordon
              Technically, most engineering/CAD/CAM software is free (a lot of software firms will happily let you download the software for free), it’s the operation of the software that is licensed.

              Here we are running into slight problems. You are describing *physical facts* using *legal terms*, and assuming they are the same thing.

              Operation of software does not need to be licensed. Legally, if I have a legal copy of software, and we can assume the copy is legal if downloaded from the creators, I can legally operate it under copyright law.

              It is possible, in theory, for me to have previous agreed to *not* to operate the software, but some sort of ‘button on a website’ probably does not do that. (To start with, you have very little evidence that was actually *me*. Maybe someone else downloaded it onto physical media, and then, under first sale, sold me the copy. Or maybe a cat clicked on it.)

              For instance, where I work, anyone can download our software off our website, install it, and launch it. But if you don’t have a license, you’ll never be able to open or create a file with it. That license will cost you a chunk of change.

              What you’re really saying is that you distribute a *crippled* version of the software for free, and then you additionally sell something that alters the software so it is not crippled, like ‘license key’.

              Which is all well and good, *practically* speaking. It is, at least, not immoral, like trying to apply terms *after* a sale.

              However, I will point out that users making modifications to the copies of software they *own* (yes, own) so it can save files is, probably, legal. (Aka, ‘cracking’ the software might be legal. Distributing cracks, OTOH, might not be.)

              Likewise, users generating keys and putting them in is even more likely to be legal. It certainly was legal until the DMCA.

              Although, please take all my ‘legal’ with a grain of salt, because courts have become *absolute idiots* about this, taking all these imaginary things that software companies have invented and pretending like that is, in fact, how the law works. Complete judicial corporatism.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                @davidtc

                If all (or the vast majority of) the legal officials in a given jurisdiction believe the law requires P, and P is effectively enforced, I’m pretty sure that the law in that jurisdiction requires P. It may not be just, but it is still the law. What is your theory of law that makes it the case that you are right about a matter of law and almost every if not every judge is wrong?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Murali
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty certain I have not said ‘all’ or even ‘the vast majority of’.

                There have been a few very stupid rulings on this.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, yeah, and a lot of companies get site licenses. Actual, real licenses that people sit down, hammer out the details, and sign. I have no problem with *that* sort of license.

            I was just saying that literally used to be the only way to get software, because copyright law didn’t actually *work correctly* for software…at first (And I skipped over this) it wasn’t explicitly covered under copyright at all (So companies needed licenses to stop copying, possibly), and then it was covered ‘too much’, in that the law forbid any copying…which would include things like copying it on hard drives, and copying into memory. (So companies needed licenses to actually let people use it!) So licensing software was basically required…

            …until fricking 1980, at which point copyright law became sane about software, and since then companies don’t actually *need* to license software. It could be sold exactly like books. It might be smart to have a *notice* on install that copyright law doesn’t allow distributing copies, but it didn’t need ‘licenses’. And yet…it still has them, or at least pretends to have them. (And they’ve managed to brainwash everyone into think it *must* be licensed.)

            I have no problem with companies setting up whatever sort of complicated licenses they want with each other. I just have a problem with trying to assert licenses somehow apply to things sold in stores, or, in this case, in dealerships.

            Of course, the DMCA is a big problem here, basically making a rule that ‘whatever rules can be *coded* are whatever the rules the end user has to follow, regardless of whether or not we’ve even *informed* them of that.’ Which is even *more* absurd…at least with ‘licenses’, the end user can know the rules. How am I supposed to know what rules exist for the software in my car?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              “I just have a problem with trying to assert licenses somehow apply to things sold in stores, or, in this case, in dealerships.”

              All the creative media you’ve ever paid for (music, movies, books, etc.) has worked that way. I really don’t know where you’re getting the idea that “you’re paying for a license” is a new thing.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                @densityduck
                All the creative media you’ve ever paid for (music, movies, books, etc.) has worked that way. I really don’t know where you’re getting the idea that “you’re paying for a license” is a new thing.

                No book I have *ever* paid for in my life has worked that way. No books work that way at all.

                No movie or CD _I_ have ever paid for has worked that way, either, although admittedly such a thing is *possible* with streaming movies and whatnot.

                You are one of the vast majority of people that have been brainwashed into thinking ‘copyright’ and ‘licenses’ are the same thing. That when you spend money, you are buying a license.

                My entire point is that you, and everyone who has been tricked into thinking this way, are completely, utterly, factually wrong, legally speaking. As wrong as possible.

                When you purchase a piece of software off a store shelf, you are not buying a license. You are buying what is, under the law, ‘a copy of a copyrighted work’. You *own* the copy. That is how the law works. You hand them money, they hand you a copyrighted work, you now own it. In fact, as copyright law has been fairly standardized, I feel fairly sure stating that is how the law works regardless of your jurisdiction.

                Of course, the work being under copyright, anyone but the owner is forbidden from doing various things (duplicating, public performances) by *law*. Again, that is how the law works. It’s the same way that the law forbids you from shooting people with a gun you own…but you still own the damn gun.

                That is the actual law. And the law doesn’t care one bit what people claim is a ‘contract’ you signed via clicking a button, because they have literally no evidence that it was *you* who clicked the button or opened shrinkwrap.

                And note if you come back here and assert that I am wrong and you are correct just because you *believe* what you’ve been told repeatedly, I will probably ignore it. Do some actual research.

                Is there a term for ‘urban legend that is impossible beneficial to the people spreading it’? Because that seems to be how copyright law works these days.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Is there a term for ‘urban legend that is impossible beneficial to the people spreading it’? ”

                I can’t speak to the accuracy of your legal argument (was outside my wheelhouse), but what you are describing there is a pretty real thing — though I don’t know if there is a name for it.

                I mentioned it in a post on school shootings once — this seemingly counter-intutive desire we get fro something that is bad from our point of view to be much, much worse and more damaging… to the point where we are palpably disappointed when its proved to us that things are better than we had previously thought.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                First-sale doctrine. You’re buying an object, and can resell it. If it gets destroyed, tough noogies. That’s why you have insurance.

                If they want to “license” a copy of the bits to me for repeated use, we can sit down and negotiate. Ideally, I want an “in perpetuity” license: if something happens to my copy of the bits, the vendor will let me have another at nominal cost. Barnes & Noble does that with epubs that they sell me. So long as I know my user id and password, I can get a copy. IIRC, the case law where the license doesn’t include that kind of deal is that I’m entitled to make copies for backup purposes, to safeguard against destruction of the bits. Since I don’t trust B&N to have arranged for something in the event they go bankrupt, I break the encryption on the epubs I buy from them and put that copy away in a safe(r) place.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                @michael-cain
                IIRC, the case law where the license doesn’t include that kind of deal is that I’m entitled to make copies for backup purposes, to safeguard against destruction of the bits.

                I don’t know about the ‘case law’, but software copyright law explicitly allows you to make backup copies. (Not, as some people think, ‘a backup copy’. That law is actually saying that a copy is legal if it’s a backup…and so is copy #2, and copy #3, etc.)

                I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case law on *other* electronic things, though. Actually, I’d be startled if the anything hinged on whether or not the license said it would provide replacement…the courts would probably allow them even if it didn’t.

                Since I don’t trust B&N to have arranged for something in the event they go bankrupt, I break the encryption on the epubs I buy from them and put that copy away in a safe(r) place.

                Which is, despite all the stuff about backups, a violation of the DMCA. Because the DMCA is stupid and evil.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Which is, despite all the stuff about backups, a violation of the DMCA.

                Yep. And next time I read one of those e-books, I’ll break it even farther, because I’ll read from the unencrypted copy. I have an epub reader now that is superior to B&N’s applications in several ways, and I intend to use it.

                What’s the old saying about laws that you can’t enforce? Or in this case, that you don’t dare enforce broadly?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Yep. And next time I read one of those e-books, I’ll break it even farther, because I’ll read from the unencrypted copy. I have an epub reader now that is superior to B&N’s applications in several ways, and I intend to use it.

                I read all my B&N epubs on my Nook Simple Touch.

                My rooted Nook Simple Touch, using a different ereader program, after I’ve removed the encryption from the epubs.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                @davidtc copyright law is subject to first sale doctrine; so if you purchase something, you can copy it for your own use and you can sell it to someone else, at which point you’re legally obliged to destroy any copies you made. Copyright is not about copying so much as about the right to distribute creative work.

                In a nutshell, copies for yourself, (backup, photocopy of an instruction or for research, etc.? OK. To give to your friends so you can all knit the same sweater? Not OK.) There are some fair-use limits on distributing works, so I can quote someone else’s writing or my sweetie can sample someone else’s music, so long as the sample/quote doesn’t exceed reasonable limits.

                I think IP law would be a whole lot clearer, perhaps, if copyright were called distribution right instead; because that’s what we’re really discussing when we discuss copyright; it’s the right to distribute (or not!) a creative work that means a minimal bar of creativity.

                It does not apply to useful items; so clothing is not copyrighted; but surface design that’s separable is copyrighted (so the Lilly Pulitzer sun dress as a dress can’t be copyrighted, but the fabric print it’s made of is copyrighted.)

                We also get a bit into other IP law here; software can also be patented, and I’d guess that most auto manufacturers have patents on the software in your car. If so, any hack to the software might (or might not, it would depend on the individual circumstance I think,) be a patent violation. I am personally opposed to patenting software, except in the most technical and extreme cases. Too much of it is ‘useful object.’

                Trademark is another issue. You can hack software, but if you distribute an app to hack say VW software, you might trip yourself up in trademark violations, since VW is trademarked and you’ld be using that trademarked name to help distribute your software.

                Finally, there’s trade secret, which is typically covered by employment contract, and remains my personal favorite method of IP protection; don’t tell anyone else the secret recipe for coke.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @zic
                so if you purchase something, you can copy it for your own use and you can sell it to someone else, at which point you’re legally obliged to destroy any copies you made. Copyright is not about copying so much as about the right to distribute creative work.

                Erm, no. I understand why you think that, and philosophically that’s where the idea is come from…but the actual law is forbidding making copies. Even for your own use.

                In a nutshell, copies for yourself, (backup, photocopy of an instruction or for research, etc.? OK. To give to your friends so you can all knit the same sweater? Not OK.)

                Copies for backup are only okay because that is *specifically allowed under the law*, at least for software. Research is also allowed under the law. Some things are allowed under court-decided fair use rules or library of congress rules. But your general statement is not some sort of absolute rule.

                Meanwhile, sometimes you explicitly are allowed to give things to all your friends. Most people don’t know this, but if you purchase ‘music CD-Rs’, you can legally record or copy music to them from other CDS give them to other people, thanks to the copyright levy on them. (17 U.S. Code § 1008) However, oddly, this might not apply if a computer is involved.

                I think IP law would be a whole lot clearer, perhaps, if copyright were called distribution right instead; because that’s what we’re really discussing when we discuss copyright; it’s the right to distribute (or not!) a creative work that means a minimal bar of creativity.

                You and I may *wish* copyright law was structured like that…but it actually isn’t. It is entirely concerned with making copies. It’s why we have had lawsuits as to both time- and format-shifting…because those things were making copies not allowed under copyright law at the time. It didn’t matter if the copies were distributed.

                Of course, distributing copies is actually what causes *damages* under the law, so in *most* suits about copyright infringement, someone will have distributed something.

                There have been some fairly good arguments made that copyright infringement that *doesn’t* distribute copies should have a blanket exemption from the laws, but, interestingly, the exact same bullshit arguments about how people ‘license’ copyrighted works is showing up there and harming that idea. (Because what if they want to license it per-device or for a limited amount of time or something?)

                It’s this sort of thing that is why I’m pushing back against ‘licensing’…people need to understand that copyright works perfectly well without any ‘licensing’, most ‘licenses’ are utterly bogus, and ‘licensed’ shouldn’t be assumed to be the default state of being for created works, and should be a somewhat rare thing.

                I am personally opposed to patenting software, except in the most technical and extreme cases. Too much of it is ‘useful object.’

                Software patents are going to be demolished by the Supreme court within three or four years. They’ve been very vocal about their disapproval of that nonsense. I have no idea why it took them so long, software patents *clearly* violated the basic rule of ‘you can’t patent math’.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                @davidtc

                My sweetie and I each have substantial bodies of copyrighted works. We have investments in closely-held companies that produce and sell copyrighted material, mostly software musical and medical applications. As a business writer, I’ve wrote dozens of pieces based on discussions with IP lawyers over the years.

                You’re simply wrong about copying being the problem. The original law may have been written that way, I don’t know, I’ve not read it. But I am very familiar with how it functions(and doesn’t functio) now, how the US Copyright Office goes about enforcing and not enforcing Copyright law, and (most particularly,) that this is one of those weird branches of law where words do not necessarily mean their common-usage meanings.

                Copyright is, in essence, to encourage the spread knowledge while giving creators opportunity to profit from their work for a limited time. In other words, it allows creators the sole right sell copies of their work themselves or to sell the right to distribute that work to another party.

                I can copy something I own (a book, magazine, or photograph, for instance) to my heart’s delight, and violate no law at all, so long as I do not distribute the copies. The notion that there’s a ban on making copies of things you own stems from law suits with copyshops (Kinkos, I think,), that were held responsible for knowingly copying material for distribution (because of the numbers,) and not personal or educational use under fair use doctrine. Those stores adopted bans on copying any copyrighted material, instead of trying to have employees figure out if the copy was legal or not. But you can buy my knitting patterns, and copy them for your own use. You should not, however, hand them out at your next knitting circle.

                The legal violation is handing out or selling those copies without the copyright-holder’s permission; it’s about distribution of the material, be it on-line, via photocopy handed out at a public meeting, or bootlegged DVD of your favorite band’s recent performance for your girlfriend. That last, the recording might be illegal too, but that’s likely an addition to the law for the recording industry, and not generally applicable to situations that aren’t live performance.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I can copy something I own (a book, magazine, or photograph, for instance) to my heart’s delight, and violate no law at all,

                Isn’t one of the controversial provisions of DMCA that you cannot legally make copies if doing so involves circumvention of anti-copying technology?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                And I should add, that US Law allows for private, non-commercial copies of recorded music and taxes blank recording mediums to reimburse creators. (I don’t know if this has withstood recent law changes, but it was a big deal that every cassette sold, back in the day, was taxed for copyright royalties, no matter the use it was put to).

                Such taxes are called private copying levies.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                The DMCA changed what’s allowed a lot. If we’re talking about digital material with access control (CDs do not have access control, so this doesn’t apply to them), essentially all the old private non-commercial exemptions are gone. In my e-book example, I can legally make a copy of the encrypted .epub file, but only because it’s normally exposed as a file on my standard file system. I cannot legally decrypt the copy. And I certainly can’t legally store a decrypted copy.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @zic
                You’re simply wrong about copying being the problem. The original law may have been written that way, I don’t know, I’ve not read it.

                I can copy something I own (a book, magazine, or photograph, for instance) to my heart’s delight, and violate no law at all, so long as I do not distribute the copies.

                And, now, once again, I am forced to say to someone else ‘Please do some research’. It is very easy to know a lot about copyright…and be completely wrong.

                The actual law is actually online, and it’s not hard to read: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

                It looks long, but there are giant huge pointless sections where they explain how cable and satellite TV is legal and mandatory licensing of music and stuff. Read until 108, then the ‘scope of’ and ‘limitations on’ sections you want. (Knitting patterns appear to be ‘graphic’.)

                The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies, barring specific limitations that are listed in the law. That is, literally, what the law says:

                § 106 . Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; …

                But you can buy my knitting patterns, and copy them for your own use.

                No. That is a copyright violation, if by ‘copy’ you mean ‘photocopy’, or even ‘print out on your computer’.(1)

                Now, turning knitting patterns into actual *knitted things* is, as far as I can tell, not considered copying by copyright law. Knitting patterns are basically protected as *graphics*….which actually means if someone just redraws them differently enough, they are not copies? Sometimes you’re allowed to copyright ‘directions to make something’ (Like architectural drawings), sometimes not (Like recipes), but the copyright never extends to what is made *from* that. (At least, that copyright doesn’t…sometime you can copyright the actual results too. Like you can copyright a movie script and a movie made from it, but those are two different copyrights.) (This is somewhat bad example because the movie is actually a derivative work, so sorta is under the script copyright, but whatever.)

                However, if someone legally owns a copy of a knitting pattern, and makes a photocopy, and does not distribute that, while that is a copyright violation, that violation *doesn’t appear to cause any damages*, so it would be pointless to sue someone over it.

                Copyright creates rights that copyright holders can sue under. But normal rules of lawsuits exist too, like ‘you must be able to prove some harm’. Copyright violations without harm are still copyright violations, but who cares? (This is why I don’t really like using the word ‘illegal’ WRT to copyrights. There are really three classes: ‘allowed under copyright’ and ‘disallowed under copyright but who cares’ and ‘disallowed under copyright and you’ll get sued’.)(2)

                1) Making copies inside your computer is, oddly, one of those areas the law falls silent on. Basically, everything inside a computer needs the ‘essential step in the utilization’ exemption that computer programs have…but only programs have it. Thus, logically, things like visiting web pages is a copyright violation. You asked for a single copy of the text and images, from the server, so that seems covered, you legally have one copy…but, nope, you then proceeded to copy it multiple times in computer memory. Oops. Copyright violation.

                This may seem nitpicky, but, like I said, historically, this is the *entire justification* for computer programs needing licenses…because they were copied into computer memory before that exception in copyright law. So they fixed it…for computer programs only. Morons. So everything else in computer memory is being copied willy-nilly in copyright violation after copyright violation. INCLUDING THIS COMMENT!

                2) Yes, I’m aware that some copyright violations are criminal. That is not important here.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                DavidTC: And the law doesn’t care one bit what people claim is a ‘contract’ you signed via clicking a button, because they have literally no evidence that it was *you* who clicked the button or opened shrinkwrap.

                I thought there have been court cases where the EULA was enforced? Or have those been extremely narrow in scope?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                @oscar-gordon
                I thought there have been court cases where the EULA was enforced? Or have those been extremely narrow in scope?

                Most of them were *extremely* narrow.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-user_license_agreement#Enforceability_of_EULAs_in_the_United_States

                To summarize: There is basically one case, ‘ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg’, that upheld an EULA.

                Other courts have disagreed, and there are some *really* obvious defenses to that case that were not tried in court. (For example, the defense didn’t point out that no one appeared to have any evidence the ‘contract’ had been signed by him.)

                And all this complicated by the UTICA and anti-UTICA states. (Turns out, sometimes legislators don’t like it when companies try to apply contract terms after purchase.)Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                You seem very upset at the idea of paying for a license rather than OWNING something. Why is that?

                “No book I have *ever* paid for in my life has worked that way. No books work that way at all.”

                Sooooo I can make copies of the book and redistribute them, then? No? Welp, looks like I don’t “own” it, in the way that you seem to mean. I have a certain set of rights to reproduce the work in specific, legally-defined situations, and I don’t have the rights to reproduce it in any other way. How else would you describe a license?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                So, here’s a funny story. I explain how I expect @densityduck to respond after doing *no* research and merely repeating what he ‘knows’, and, sure as hell, he did exactly that.

                I have a certain set of rights to reproduce the work in specific, legally-defined situations

                Wow, is that a dumb sentence or what? People have the right to do anything that is not illegal with stuff they own. That is not a ‘license’.

                and I don’t have the rights to reproduce it in any other way.

                And, of course, the law barring people from doing a thing is not a license either. That’s just…a law.

                How else would you describe a license?

                Are you asserting that I have a license to do…what, with books? What is this license for? Who is it with? I have a license to…read them? But I *already* can read them, because that’s not barred by law.

                I’m suspecting it’s *you* that doesn’t know what a license is.

                When I own a copy of a copyrighted work, there are several things, mostly copying, I am forbidden *by law* from doing with it. No ‘license’ is involved whatsoever in that process.

                Now, the copyright owner, if they chose, can *grant* me a license to do those otherwise illegal things, but that is not how copyright law works…that is how I get an *exemption* to copyright law.

                You seem very upset at the idea of paying for a license rather than OWNING something. Why is that?

                ‘Hey, why are you upset everyone is pathologically lying about things?’Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              DavidTC: I have no problem with companies setting up whatever sort of complicated licenses they want with each other. I just have a problem with trying to assert licenses somehow apply to things sold in stores, or, in this case, in dealerships.

              Yeah, we don’t sell in stores. If someone wants to use our software, they’ll be sitting down with a rep and hashing out details of the license & expected support.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Road Scholar
      Ignored
      says:

      @road-scholar

      If you lease, that is not necessarily a far out argument.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I think if you lease, most everybody here would agree an owner prohibiting tampering with the device. There may be some disagreement over who foots the bills for repairs and such, though, if sellers try to argue that “Maintenance must occur at our repair shop; labor costs roughly $800/hr.”

        But even then, chances are you’re not dealing with the manufacturer. You’re dealing with a company that does leasing.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    There was enough political umph back in the day to pass Magnuson-Moss*, and numerous states are close to passing right to repair laws, so while this bears watching, I don’t think there’s reason to panic. This fight has been going on in its currently iteration for over a decade, and more broadly, since the dawn of the automobile age.

    *it’s a sign of our poorer political climate that there’s nobody named “Senator Magnuson” anymore – a name that surely belongs in the Marvel Universe.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    This underlies the problems of originalism as a constitutional interpretation tool. When the Constitution was written, the entire structure of the economy was different. Companies and corporation like bodies existed but were much smaller and in their infancy as entities. Nobody imagined that they could grow to such a gigantic size and power that they could lobby Congress to pass lawyers that would prevent home tinkering as a copyright violation.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    I think it has less to do with Big Kerprashun’s R EVUL and more to do with Toyota having to pay a billion dollars even after a huge government investigation which concluded that a bunch of dumbasses stepped on the gas instead of the brake…again. The legal climate surrounding product liability is so bizarrely tilted against manufacturers that it makes sense for them to take steps to limit third-party repairs, because who knows what kinds of crazy stuff Joe’s Import Tuner Service* will do? And then when someone’s engine explodes in the middle of the 405 and they get obliterated by a semi, some sharp useless fellow will claim that it’s the automaker’s responsibility for allowing it to happen at all.

    * motto: “We Chip ‘Em, You Zip ‘Em!”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      I have to admit that this is a legitimate concern for manufacturers. Product liability suits are real things. The fact that a car was modified by the owner is technically an offense because the manufacturer can argue that the owner assumed the risk by changing the safety features. Its might be particularly difficult to prove this in court, especially if the car was basically destroyed in an accident.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      “Toyota having to pay a billion dollars even after a huge government investigation which concluded that a bunch of dumbasses stepped on the gas instead of the brake…”

      This is an inaccurate characterization of the facts. The investigation showed that there was no dramatic software problem causing the car to go crazy. News reports had featured that scenario for its flash value. But so what? It turned out that the problem was with the floor mat getting caught in the accelerator pedal, causing uncontrolled acceleration, and an unrelated problem with the accelerator pedal sticking, with a similar result. I trust that you are not claiming that Toyota should only have to pay for injuries resulting from a high-tech design flaw, and not from a low-tech one.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Richard Hershberger
        Ignored
        says:

        “It turned out that the problem was with the floor mat getting caught in the accelerator pedal”

        No, actually, it didn’t. The claims were that some bizarre unreproduceable and untraceable malfunction in the car’s electronics was causing the engine to go out of control and go to maximum throttle and stay there. The NHTSA investigation didn’t find any credible reports of “accelerator pedal sticking”. Toyota had to pay a billion dollars anyway, because that was cheaper than trying to litigate thousands of individual claims.

        And the point, Sheldon Cooper, is that “you’re not allowed to mess with the software” probably has far more to do with liability protection than it does with Evul Kerprit Bastardry.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          “Federal highway safety inspectors have released new details of a fatal car crash that triggered Toyota Motor Corp.’s largest recall, including a finding that the Lexus ES 350 sedan involved had a gas pedal design that could increase the risk of its being obstructed by a floor mat.

          “Last month, Toyota announced the largest recall in its history, asking drivers of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to remove their floor mats until a permanent remedy is devised.”

          Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/25/nation/na-toyota-crash25

          A design flaw is a design flaw, whether it is a sexy design flaw like a software bug leading to loss of control, or a mundane design flaw like a crappy floor mat design leading to loss of control. You are shedding a tear for a corporation having to actually face a consequence for its ineptitude.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Richard Hershberger
            Ignored
            says:

            What actually happened is that the wrong mats were poorly installed in some cars by dealers.

            Which, yes, is bad, but isn’t some systematic problem.

            However, there actually is a systematic problem that I’ve been complaining about for years: No obvious emergency engine cutoff.

            And, no, ‘indicating you can push the switch for three second on the dashboard’ is moronic. First of all, ‘indicating’ it how? Secondly…so you have to wait *three seconds* to turn the car off? That’s an entire damn football field at 70 mph….which starts after you realize the car is out of control, and then you have to read the damn dashboard to (hopefully) decipher how to force the thing off, and hope you don’t run into anything during that.

            All cars with keyless entry should have a physical switch sticking out that rotates counterclockwise on the steering column able to *immediately* turn the car off. Aka, a ‘fake ignition key that stays in the on position’. Instant hardware cutoff.Report

        • Avatar Patrick in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          And the point, Sheldon Cooper, is that “you’re not allowed to mess with the software” probably has far more to do with liability protection than it does with Evul Kerprit Bastardry.

          There’s some claim to be made that folks that have made hardware have indeed been held (practically) idiotically liable for some things that they should not have been held liable for.

          That’s not the case for software. In fact, software companies have been able to dodge liability for some things that it’s arguable that they *should* be held accountable for.

          So I don’t think your parallel works here.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Patrick
            Ignored
            says:

            @patrick
            In fact, software companies have been able to dodge liability for some things that it’s arguable that they *should* be held accountable for.

            In fact, they often dodge liability by selling you a product and then, *after you buy it*, apparently making you agree to a contract that says they aren’t responsible for anything at all. Not only are they not held accountable, they’re not held accountable via a fairly dubious means.Report

  6. Avatar LWA
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember making the statement on this blog that given sufficient wealth I could instruct the Legislature to give me the shirt off your back.

    I just didn’t realize that day would come so soon.Report

  7. Avatar Joe Sal
    Ignored
    says:

    Damn rat rod punchers, what will they think of next.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    1. Interesting. I haven’t heard the copyright argument before but I have heard arguments that trying to fix your own car might void your warranty which just makes it a matter of contract law.

    2. On computerized cars v. mechanical cars, I have never had any car I owned break down on me in a serious way. There have been some product recalls and standard service but I have never been in a situation where a car would not start up or quit on me while driving. The computerized cars are simply better made than mechanical ones. And yeah they are probably more complex and I would want an expert to handle them.

    3.There seems to be a strong cultural divide on how much being able to fix a car makes you a “real man” or not. I don’t place much stock in car fixing as a sign of being a “real man” but I’ve gotten into conversations with people who do. There are huge class and geographic issues with this divide probably.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      2.
      Computers do go down often in used cars. It is exceedingly frustrating as the cost of replacement can exceed 50% of the value of the vehicle. Back in the day we would just replace the points or coil and be back driving for less than $20.

      I actually miss the old point systems.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s also a notional, and sometimes practical, difference between a licensed* (but independent) repair shop and a straight up amateur doing something on his or her own.

    We already limit what a ‘do it yourselfer’ may do in most building trades (though normally only enforced if and when their property with do it yourself project(s) is put on the market). In the world of automobiles, you’re normally not allowed to muck around with the AC system (anymore) without an EPA license, and the emissions system does need to meet certain standards in most places, (normally tested annually or bi-annually)

    So while ‘copyright’ is the tool that the auto manufacturers are (improperly, imo) using, they do have an angle when it comes to licensing regimes and consumer safety.

    *I’m not that familiar with the licensing requirements of auto mechanics, so they could be de minimus in some places.Report

  10. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    And here’s another thing to think about. All those Event Data Recorders in your car. Alledgely you own your car, so the cops should need a search warrant to access the data in your EDR. How often do they really, or do they just get it from your insurance company, where you agreed in the fine print to give them access, in one of those nice little adhesion contracts.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *