DRM in Your Car’s Engine

GamePolitics readers are familiar with the Digital Rights Management controversy which marred the release of Will Wright’s long-awaited Spore last year.

But DRM and the consumer-unfriendly Digital Millenium Copyright Act are apparently concerns for drivers as well as gamers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that a proposal before Congress would allow independent auto repair shops to break the DRM which currently locks them out of your car’s diagnostic computer:

The Right-To-Repair Act of 2009 (H.R. 2057)… points to a much bigger consumer issue… One underlying legal problem here is the DMCA, which prohibits bypassing or circumventing "technological protection measures…"

And the issue goes beyond the importance of being able to get independent repair and maintenance services. The use of technological "locks" against tinkerers also threatens "user innovation" — the kinds of innovation that traditionally have come from independent tinkerers — which has increasingly been recognized as an important part of economic growth and technological improvement…

In short, thanks to the DMCA, we need a Right-To-Repair Act not just for cars, but increasingly for all the things we own.

Via: boing boing

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  1. Kamil says:

    Makers of DRM are just pursuing their own agenda and it seems that there is no heart put in when thinking of the drivers as well as gamers. KW Variant

  2. JustChris says:

    Correct me if I’m reading this wrong, but this bill would pretty much allow more people the ability to fix a car, right? Is there anything wrong with that? I mean, I try to stay away from dealerships whenever possible, so this is a good thing for someone like me, right?

  3. SilverMelee says:

    So even cars have DRM? I didn’t know that, but I shouldn’t be surprised what with how almost everything nowadays is computerized. I wouldn’t be surprised if my toaster didn’t have a computer chip installed somewhere inside it at this point.

    If the DMCA statute is so backwards and restrictive that there are legal risks with repairing faulty merchandise, then I think it’s time it got a few revisions… or better yet, a repeal.

    — I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

  4. DarkSaber says:

    Since Diagnostic Computers became the way to ‘fix’ cars.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  5. ZippyDSMlee says:

    With HDCP the very video data we whatch is DRM’d, hell the way its implemented you can’t watch 1080 stuff without it…..

    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  6. black manta says:

    This just goes to illustrate the Law of Unintended Consequences in action.  The fact alone that a special act is needed just to repair cars should point out how deeply flawed and problematic this piece of legislation is.  As always, if only the gaming community complains, no one cares.  But once it starts affecting other parts of everyday life and impacts the average Joe will the case against the DMCA gain some real traction.  Video games are one thing, but god forbid it starts meesing with our cars, which one could argue is a valued piece of Americana.  Expect there to be big outcry for repealing the DMCA some time soon in the wake of this.

  7. JDKJ says:

    Damn right!! Lock ’em out!! I would too, if I was Enzo Ferrari. If you don’t, next thing you know is that there’ll be an F430 sitting on four cinder blocks in some idiot’s driveway for months with the engine lid gaping open, ruining the resale value of F430s everywhere. Lock ’em out!!

  8. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Hey that sounds like a great idea. Perhaps we can get a "Right to Patch Act", in which we are allowed to break DRM on games in order to patch bugs ourselves.

    Maybe we could follow it up with the "Right To Backup Act", in which we have the right to create and use backups of our media.

    Eventually if we get enough of these acts we may even be able to convince the government to repeal the DMCA.

    But we all know what will happen. Some committee that is in the pocket of the Media industry will deny this bill and state that auto repair shops have to go through the same inane process of begging for a three year exception like the rest of us.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

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