U.S. Copyright Office Says you Can Diagnose, Repair & Modify Your Vehicle Under DMCA
Tinker Away Without Fear
Most of us have diagnosed a problem with a rig and probably fixed it too, you may have even modified your vehicle with a custom tune. The good news is you can keep doing that without breaking the law. The U.S. Copyright Office issued an official ruling that allows vehicle owners to perform vehicle diagnosis, repairs and modifications while still complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The exemption given by the U.S. Copyright office allows the vehicle owner to perform the task, but declined to allow third-parties to diagnose, repair or modify the vehicle on the owners behalf. An exemption for third-parties would require legislative action from Congress. Access to the vehicle’s telematics and entertainment system were also excluded from the exemption
SEMA provided a helping hand in seeking an exemption for the aftermarket industry as well as for consumers. SEMA provided comments to the Copyright Office for exemption from the DMCA to allow vehicle owners to bypass the controls of the vehicle while diagnosing, repairing or modifying their own vehicle. Repairing and Modifying vehicles is nothing new but constantly evolving vehicle computers and software have OE’s wanting to protect their technology investments more. Even with pressure from manufacturer’s under DMCA, SEMA CEO and President Chris Kresting says “SEMA has always maintained that the right to access vehicle systems to utilize, maintain and upgrade vehicles is legal as fair use under copyright law, as are activities undertaken to achieve interoperability with aftermarket products."
From the results of the ruling, the Copyright Office agrees with SEMA on allowing owners to diagnose, repair and modify their vehicles. You can now go and modify your rig until your hearts content without having to look over your shoulder for the fuzz, well at least not for violating the DMCA.