Massachusetts May Be The First To Get A Right To Repair Law
from the about-time dept
For quite some time now there have been reports about how carmakers have been forcing car owners to take cars to the dealers for (expensive) repairs, by using special software to diagnose problems in the computer system, and only giving the necessary software to dealers. This is actually one of many nasty consequences of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention rules (pay attention Canada), whereby it should be perfectly legal for anyone you ask to work on your car — but thanks to digital locks placed on your car’s computer by automakers, other mechanics would be breaking the law just to figure out how to get around the locks. Every year for the past decade, there are attempts to pass a national “right to repair” act at the federal level to take care of this, but it never goes anywhere.
However, it looks like at least some states are trying to take matters into their own hands. jjmsan points us to the news that Massachusetts is apparently close to creating just such a statewide law, and many are hoping it will drive other states to follow suit. The automakers, of course, are fighting it, but their logic doesn’t make much sense:
A spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an association of 11 vehicle manufacturers including Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., said aftermarket parts companies are seeking information that would enable them to make inexpensive parts in foreign countries without incurring research and development costs.
“This is a thinly veiled attempt by parts manufacturers to lower the cost of remanufacturing original equipment of manufacturer parts,” alliance spokesman Charles Territo said. “Once this information is released, that intellectual property will be in China by the end of the month.”
So? If you can’t compete with other aftermarket companies, that’s your problem. You shouldn’t be able to unfairly lock them out of the market and jack up prices just through some software code.