What DRM-Circumvention could mean for farmers -wip | Writing | Food Newsie

. . . . .

What DRM-Circumvention could mean for farmers -wip

What DRM-Circumvention could mean for farmers -wip

After many months of briefs and hearings, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is proud to announce some new rules for exemptions as pertains to manufacturer’s software for games, cell phones and cars. We’re interested mostly in the vehicular aspect and will reach out for clarity on the following problem facing smaller farmers: Their new vehicles are governed by microchips and software that make operation impossible if parts or maintenance aren’t up to par with the programmed specs.

It came to light in April 2015 that farmers with new tractors might not fully own, ever, or even have permission to fix, in most cases, the equipment they paid for since the programs in charge of operation were protected by the Digital Copyrights Millennium Act. The DCMA was put together in a rush to protect against piracy at a time when music and movies were openly downloaded and traded on the still new-ish internet. The Digital Rights Management software that later came bundled with goods, disks and operating systems tattled if an owner tried to go around the software protections. This DRM is in place with John Deere tractors allow them to file copyright claims against farmers in the event an owner tries to rig a repair.

Rigging a repair to keep things operational is a hallmark of farming and the mother of progress and invention. It doesn’t often come from large companies that are more interesting in preserving a development rather than forging a new paradigm. Languishing since 11FEB2015 is H.R. 862

H.R. 862 YODA You Own Devices Act

It’s likely that nothing will ever happen with this legislation that says, were it passed, no agreement can take from you full ownership of the software that operates your purchase. Naturally, you cannot abuse this and upload a music CD to distribute freely like the wild west days around the millennium, but in the case of farmers, they could at least make the changes needed to get their equipment to operate and meet specific needs. H.R. 862 was created and sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold ®
Representative from Texas’s 27th District. Kudos.

Librarian of Congress and EFF

You can read the 81 pages of PDF here and pick out the details, but we’re hoping for the best and reaching out to this article’s authors for clarification. BUT, the inclusion of automobiles in the expanded protections for fair use is promising to help turn things around for farmers held hostage by software.

The Librarian recognized the need for vehicle owners to circumvent access restrictions in order to repair, modify, and tinker. The exemption removes the uncertainty of whether 1201 liability would attach to a range of activities that have been clearly lawful throughout most of the hundred-year history of automotive tinkering, but were called into question as an unintended consequence of copyright law.

17 U.S. Code § 1201 (That’s U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 12, if you’re reading this aloud) attacks fair use where it was intended to protect copyrights. What constitutes “fair use” is at the heart of what the EFF is working hard to define. More will comes of this but the background is still fresh and new so also manageable in size if you’re looking to catch up. Hopefully, there will come a day where the computer guy will drop by the farm to fix your tractor!

Leave a reply

Textile help

Copyright © 2017 Food Newsie. Adapted for Textpattern (currently v4.5.2). Managed by Bryan of FoodNewsie.com HTML5 Powered with CSS3 / Styling, Semantics, and Offline & Storage Valid CSS!