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Do We Own Our Vehicles? General Motors Says No.

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by Thinkje, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Thinkje

    Thinkje Member

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    Interesting article about the arguments General Motors and other auto manufacturers (except Tesla) are making to the Copyright Office about who owns the software part of a car.

    "It’s worth noting Tesla Motors didn’t join automakers in this argument, even though its cars rely heavily on proprietary software."

    http://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/
     
  2. saladman

    saladman Member

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    When I worked for a amajor entertainment studio, I had multiple lawyers routinely tell me that just because I bought a DVD, it didn't mean I had bought the right to watch it. Nearly identical DMCA argument.
     
  3. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    They didn't need to join, their actions speak loud and clear that they agree.

    Every time someone has done anything to access any part of the software, or control interfaces Tesla has locked them down further, they have made sure that nobody other than Tesla can repair the vehicle by locking out the service menu with more and more security, and refusing to let anyone else get the proprietary software required to diagnose anything.

    Tesla isn't joining the statement, but they have definitely joined the sentiment.
     
  4. Oil4AsphaultOnly

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    locking down access to the service menu is a prudent move. Saying something belongs to you, but not showing you how to fix/rebuild it are NOT contradictory. I'd use your smartphone as an analogy. You might own the phone, but the manufacturer isn't going to give you the tools to fix/service it yourself.

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    Sorry, I replied without reading the article. I agree with green1 afterall. Tesla does indeed treat their code as theirs. But in this case, I'd agree with John Deere. Going back to the smartphone analogy, although Apple won't give you the iOS code, you are more than welcome to install your own OS (cyanogen mod?) onto the phone. Maybe that's the correct solution for the Farmers? Assuming there are hackers who can do that for them?
     
  5. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Actually you can't do that in many phones because of locked bootloaders, and typically if you unlock it (assuming they allow unlocking, which many manufacturers don't), you void your warranty.
     
  6. WATTS-UP

    WATTS-UP Member

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    When this finally gets to court they (the manufacturers) may lose. When I purchased my car I did not agree that I only purchased the metal I purchased every think. If the soft ware is not mine then don’t include it in the sale. See how many of us buy you product.

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    When this finally gets to court they (the manufacturers) may lose. When I purchased my car I did not agree that I only purchased the metal I purchased every think. If the soft ware is not mine then don’t include it in the sale. See how many of us buy you product.
     
  7. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    #7 David99, Apr 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
    When you buy a computer, at least in the US, you don't own the software. In other countries the laws are different. In some you actually own the software by law and all these license agreements are meaningless.

    I think the laws will have to be adjusted in the near future. An overwhelming number of products these days include some form of computer and software. Cameras, washers, phones, music players, yard sprinkler systems, printers, a large number of products have added smart features that are basically mini computers running some sort of software. The law currently is very one sided favoring manufacturers. It just doesn't deal well with the situation today and the future.
     
  8. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    Exactly! Is GM trying to make Tesla look bad because its consumers are driving around, using technology with a license?
     
  9. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    You absolutely did not buy the software. That is standard software license agreement terms. If you ever have a software license that transfer complete ownership over to it, you'd know. They're few and far between, and very strange (e.g. the CopyFree ones).


    I'm also not sure you want to own the software behind an expensive piece of hardware.

    One of the things that the commercial software licenses give you is patent indemnification. If John Deer just transfer ownership of the software to you, and you use a John Deer lawnmower to e.g. clean up a construction site, the software may be infringing on some Caterpillar patent. Since you're now the software owner, Caterpillar can sue you, instead of going after John Deer. And since you probably won't have the skills or resources to address the patent issues yourself, that can turn your expensive tractor into a lawn ornament.

    Until the patent situation is changed, it's a very dangerous game. The only winning move is, not to play.

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    Example of such a country?

    And why would any developer even bother to sell in such a country, as they'd only ever be able to sell one copy?
     
  10. Bulletproof

    Bulletproof Vendor

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    The only good thing I see coming out of this is that the open source movement is going to step in and offer alternatives. Sure many won't dare breaking the warranty, but I'm sure many will not mind using open source software on the hardware they bought.
     
  11. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I could understand where the OEs are coming from with this if you're talking about warranty repairs, but once a vehicle is out-of-warranty, who cares?
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Hehe.
     
  13. jim15936

    jim15936 New Member

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    When Deere asserts even partial ownership, they are playing with fire, by asserting accident liability, in cases where failure to maintain equipment causes damage. If you are a Deere owner, show the judge that they maintain a least partial ownership through the DMCA, so they should be sued also for damages. Consider when you rent a Hertz car. If their failure to maintain brakes causes an accident, Hertz can be sued; its not your fault as someone who merely leases it. Deere can now be sued if the tractor had bad brakes and couldn't stop. They don't realize this stupidity. By asserting ownership, it also undermines the "first sale doctrine" and could prevent the resale of a car or tractor: If you don't own it, and Deere does, then one day, they may try to stop the sale of "their" tractor.

    A better way to deal with this, is to say, is to say that if you hack a Tesla or tractor, all warranties are over, with a refund at their discretion. They can't be expected to maintain an altered vehicle, or fix work they didn't do.
     
  14. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Even after the warranty expires they are still liable for safety issues with the car (and also PR impact), so locking things down avoids potential problems down the road. Also, their dealer network probably likes things locked down as service is a big profit generator.
     
  15. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Bingo.
     
  16. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    To those talking about putting your own software on your car, there is no way that will be allowed. Locked bootloaders aren't just for phones.

    We are entering a time when we no longer own any of the products we buy, we only license them. We have not stopped paying for full ownership, and we still get all the liability, but we don't get to modify.

    Manufacturers have finally, after decades of trying, found a way around all those pesky consumer protection "right to repair" laws.
     
  17. voidptr

    voidptr Member

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    I can do all sorts of things to a product to void the warranty beyond installing an unsigned OS image. I don't really have a problem with Apple withholding warranty service if I root my iPhone and install an unsupported OS.

    The DMCA concern here is if I can be sued / held criminally liable for doing so, or for telling someone how to. (Which, it should be noted, is *also* different from copying the OS off the device, modifying it, and then distributing the modified copy to someone else.)
     
  18. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    And the answer to that for phones was that yes you could be held criminally liable for doing so, until an exemption was specifically passed for phones to allow that sort of behaviour. (originally you could have been held criminally liable for simply unlocking your phone to be used on a different carrier)
    The hope now is that a similar exemption will be made for cars (of course a much better solution would be to get rid of the ridiculous law, but the MPAA and RIAA are far to powerful to allow that)
     
  19. vdiv

    vdiv Chief Grump

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    There's an article on wired.com asserting that Tesla is not a car company, it is a battery company (never mind the Motors part). My view is that the Model S is really a big mobile phone (booth if you wish) :) You can plug it in to charge, browse the web on it, look for directions, listen to music, make phone calls, and it comes with you wherever you go.

    The issue is not just with the software running on the vehicle we allegedly own, but also the cloud services behind that software that make it all work. We certainly do not own that, yet cloud-based services are becoming rather pervasive.
     
  20. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Germany for example. I owned a $20k software and when the manufacturer said I can't sell the software, I reminded them of the law and then quickly became silent and nodded. Copyright protection still applies. There are laws that do not allow you to duplicate it and give it out. And yes, why would anyone bother to sell in Germany LOL
     

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