Fight for Repair Information Access Ramps Up in the U.S.

by | Jan 7, 2018 | 0 comments

According to a report in the U.S. media, concern is ongoing that access to automotive repair information is being blocked.

The current battle is being waged over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) currently open for its one-in-three-year review.

According to a report in Courthouse News, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has participated in the process since 1999, is hoping to get another exemption as the 2018 review opens up which would allow independent automotive repair shops and third party companies the right to make changes and repairs to the software on products they already own.

“If you own a device with software in it – from a watch to a car – you should be able to repair it and modify it without liability under the law,” Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney at the foundation, told Courthouse News.

“The manufacturers want to control where you get [your car] repaired,” said Aaron Lowe, senior vice president of the Auto Care Association’s Government Affairs team in the Courthouse News report. “There’s many ways they can make it available to independent repair shops, but then it’s no longer an independent market.

“They’re using the DMCA to prevent the manufacture of competing parts — software driven parts,” Lowe said. “If you can prevent a consumer from copying the software for a part they already have, then you control where they get parts for the car. It’s like signing a licensing agreement.”

In Canada, access to automaker automotive repair information and tools is covered by the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard but there is a concern that the 2009 voluntary agreement does not adequately cover the changing technological landscape. For more information on CASIS, visit http://www.oemrepairinfo.ca/.

 

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