According to a report, farmers are demanding the right to fix their tractors. The report reminds us that owners of tractors aren’t allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property. The world’s largest tractor maker, John Deere, in fact, says that people who purchase tractors don’t really own them and instead they are getting an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” Some farmers are voicing their opinion against these laws. From the article: What this has meant is that tractor owners can’t repair their own tractors — and if they do, they’re in violation of the DMCA. So, if a machine stops working, its owner can’t pop the hood, run some tests, and find out what’s going on; he or she is legally required to take the tractor to a service center (one owned by the manufacturer, since that’s the only entity allowed to analyze the tractor’s issues). This can be expensive and time-consuming, and more to the point, unnecessary — at least according to farmers in several states, who are lobbying to force tractor manufacturers make their diagnostic tools available to independent repair shops and owners. Not everyone is on the farmers’ side here; some, according to the Associated Press, are concerned that the move would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers, potentially landing them in trouble. But the tractor owners disagree, annoyed that their tractors are treated differently from their cars and trucks, which can be serviced by any independent shop.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.