«Previous    Next»
Deere Says You Don’t Own That Tractor You Bought
In July the U.S. Copyright Office will hand down a decision

on whether individuals can “repair” the software and

computer code that controls most new tractors, pickups, cars

and other equipment. John Deere, General Motors and other

manufacturers have submitted briefs to the government saying

that farmers don’t own their tractors but receive “an implied

license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle”. In

other words, it’s Deere’s tractor. It’s just parked on your farm.

The practical implication of the ruling would be that only

dealers or company-authorized personnel would be allowed

to work on the computerized software systems that control

everything from smartphones to combines. Individuals

or shade-tree mechanics will not be able to buy electronic

diagnostic equipment or even to hack into the software that

runs their equipment. For instance, let’s say you think you can

get more power out of your new $300,000 tractor by adjusting

fuel supply to the engine and you - or your mechanic - are

smart enough to fi gure out how to adjust the computerized

code that controls the fuel system. Under the proposed

rule, you could not do it because the manufacturers own the

software in your machine.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is fi ghting for open

access to electronics in the machines we buy. You can read

more at their website: www.eff.org

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3