Author Topic: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car  (Read 16704 times)

RWD

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Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« on: April 20, 2015, 09:47:02 AM »
Quote
Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.
http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/automakers-gearheads-car-repairs/

schimt

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 10:36:47 AM »
this would take stealerships to a whole new level

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 11:14:16 AM »
This is why people need to care about copyright law (and how it's being abused). It's gotten to the point where actual property rights are becoming subordinate to "imaginary property" rights, because manufacturers of physical objects are injecting copyrighted stuff into them with the explicit purpose of gaining control over consumer owner behavior (control that they wouldn't otherwise be allowed under the First Sale Doctrine to have). First it was cell phones, now it's ink cartridges and K-cups, soon it'll be cars and eventually it'll be everything.

It's nothing less than an insidious attempt to create a new feudalism, with the [corporate] lords' control rooted in copyright instead of real estate. We're all becoming serfs, and most of us don't even realize it yet.

JLee

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 11:39:31 AM »
Quote
Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.
http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/automakers-gearheads-car-repairs/

From what I gathered, that's talking about the ability to edit/program ECU's - not make physical repairs. I still disagree with it, but for those determined to modify ECU programming there will still be ways.  The engine management in my fun car is entirely aftermarket; the factory ECU has been removed entirely.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2015, 11:45:21 AM »
Unenforceable.

Travis

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2015, 12:07:34 PM »
Unenforceable.

Not if you need to take your car to the dealership at some point and they see the modifications when they plug it in.

JLee

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 12:31:49 PM »
Unenforceable.

Not if you need to take your car to the dealership at some point and they see the modifications when they plug it in.

People who are modifying their ECUs aren't taking their cars to the dealer. :)

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 01:27:28 PM »
Unenforceable.

Not if you need to take your car to the dealership at some point and they see the modifications when they plug it in.

People who are modifying their ECUs aren't taking their cars to the dealer. :)

"People" (mostly) aren't modifying their own ECUs; they're paying chip-tuning vendors to do it for them. This rule would enable the manufacturers to sue the chip-tuners out of existence.

MgoSam

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2015, 01:42:21 PM »
Never underestimate the ability of lobbyists groups to chisel for every penny to the determent of the consumer. The notion of the US as a "free market," is an absolute joke. Just look at the fight that the dealership lobby have put up against Tesla to block it from selling its products directly to the consumers. 

Syonyk

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2015, 03:01:23 PM »
This rule would enable the manufacturers to sue the chip-tuners out of existence.

Paired with emissions laws... yeah. :(  Pretty much.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 07:18:44 PM »
You know, all it would take is some proper encryption of the ECU and interface, and a bit of back-end work. It's really not that hard. But car companies are terrible at electronics, so instead of some relatively trivial technological lock-out measures (which they have every right in the world to do), they try this bullshit?

Syonyk

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 07:25:05 PM »
They're just as good at security.

Have you read the Oakland 2010 paper?

Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile
http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-oakland2010.pdf

(sorry, updated with the actual link)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 07:50:02 PM by Syonyk »

a1smith

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 08:20:19 PM »
They're just as good at security.

Have you read the Oakland 2010 paper?

Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile
http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-oakland2010.pdf

(sorry, updated with the actual link)

Most, if not all, of what they did was by accessing the CAN bus through the ALDL (OBD-II) connector.  Basically, you have to allow someone to physically plug into your ALDL connector under your dash.

The analogy for a PC is to give someone physical access to the inside of your computer case so that they can get full access to your address and data bus.  OMG, the PC isn't protected for that!

I'm not losing any sleep over it.

Syonyk

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 08:22:13 PM »
Yup.

And in a lot of cars, the 3G/4G/LTE entertainment system/hot spot/etc has access to the CAN bus.

Joggernot

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2015, 08:33:41 AM »
Things like OnStar have direct access to the OBD-II.  What does that do to security?  I've seen the ads where they can do just about anything through OnStar.

Syonyk

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2015, 08:52:19 AM »
My suggestion would be to simply try not to think about it. :)

infogoon

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2015, 09:29:01 AM »
Yup.

And in a lot of cars, the 3G/4G/LTE entertainment system/hot spot/etc has access to the CAN bus.

I saw a paper a while back where they were able to compromise other internal systems via the TPMS connection; turns out that the tire pressure transmissions aren't secured at all, and the receiving service is easily overflowed and exploited.

Daleth

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2015, 10:05:07 AM »
Quote
Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.
http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/automakers-gearheads-car-repairs/

That sounds untrue to me for two reasons:

1. You can't copyright useful things (such as car parts)--or rather, if you make a car part with a fancy design on it, you could copyright the design, but not the actual car part (the useful part of it). Don't take it from me, hear what the copyright office has to say:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl103.html

2. With things you can copyright, here are the rights that copyright gives you: the right to copy; the right to make derivative works (e.g., if you write a book, nobody can make a movie based on your book and no one can translate your book into another language without your permission); the right to distribute the thing (e.g., distributing a copyrighted movie); the right to perform it (if the copyrighted thing is performable, like a song or play); and the right to display it (e.g., if the copyrighted thing is a sculpture). Again, don't take my word for it: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/106

So even if you could copyright car parts, which you can't, that wouldn't prevent anyone from repairing their own car since repairing, tinkering, etc. are not among the rights that copyright protects.

Behind that article, I smell a scam. Or just an ignoramus, maybe.

*Edited to add* You can copyright software, so if "repairing" means copying, distributing etc. the software code, then there could be something to this--but only to that extent (i.e. only to the extent it's about the software and involves one of the rights that copyright protects).
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 10:07:23 AM by Daleth »

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2015, 10:23:44 AM »
instead of some relatively trivial technological lock-out measures (which they have every right in the world to do)

I don't think they should have that right! Once they sell the car, it's not their property anymore. It's the car owner's property. And encrypting the ECU, along with the rest of this bullshit, is all about securing the car against its rightful owner.

The manufacturers do not actually have any rights that are relevant to this discussion. Copyright has nothing to do with safety, and nothing to do with security. In fact, the relevant policy issue here should not be whether a vehicle owner modifying his ECU is copyright infringement, but instead whether the manufacturer encrypting the ECU is a violation of the Uniform Commercial Code, Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, or even the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

So even if you could copyright car parts, which you can't, that wouldn't prevent anyone from repairing their own car since repairing, tinkering, etc. are not among the rights that copyright protects.

Behind that article, I smell a scam. Or just an ignoramus, maybe.

That's the problem! Apparently, nobody cares that it's ridiculous for copyright to apply to non-copying activities, because they're applying it anyway. Copyright is turning into the 21st Century's Interstate Commerce Clause, with all the expansion of government tyranny that entails.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2015, 12:19:55 PM »
Quote
I don't think they should have that right! Once they sell the car, it's not their property anymore. It's the car owner's property.

The car owner can choose whether to buy a device that is locked down and prevents them from editing its internals. They're not forcing you to buy it.

Literally every computing device you use has firmware running on it, which is locked down and very hard (if not nearly impossible) to modify, unless you happen to work for the company in question.

Every manufacturer has the right to technologically, mechanically, aesthetically, do whatever they damn well please to a product you choose to buy. What is not cool is if they try to _actively_ prevent you from messing with it after purchase, whether by passing laws, or so on.

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2015, 01:20:06 PM »
The car owner can choose whether to buy a device that is locked down and prevents them from editing its internals. They're not forcing you to buy it.

They are forcing you to buy it when the entire industry colludes to make sure locked-down shit is the only thing available.

Literally every computing device you use has firmware running on it, which is locked down and very hard (if not nearly impossible) to modify, unless you happen to work for the company in question.

Yes, and that's morally and ethically wrong. That's why everyone should support the EFF and FSF in their efforts to preserve private property rights (and free speech, and other nice things) in the digital age.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2015, 03:49:22 PM »
Hell, even Stallman would disagree with you, Jack. I'm all for open source of the code I use - but I don't see much need, other than curiosity or paranoia, to get the code running on my coffee machine. (Unless the code prevents me from doing something like using the "wrong" coffee brand.)

I am all for enthusiasts unlocking features on their cars, but if car manufacturers shut it down technologically - not through legislature - then tough cookies, buy another car. But I will agree that writing laws to do it is bullshit, and will probably cause me to fuck around with internals simply out of spite.

Still, it's gotta be cheaper to hire 10 security experts (who aren't fucking morons) than 10 senators. Like I said before, it's a really simple problem, they're just terrible at anything electronic and software related.

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2015, 06:32:51 PM »
Hell, even Stallman would disagree with you, Jack. I'm all for open source of the code I use - but I don't see much need, other than curiosity or paranoia, to get the code running on my coffee machine. (Unless the code prevents me from doing something like using the "wrong" coffee brand.)

[Citation needed]

GNU was founded because because Stallman was upset about not being able to modify a printer driver, which conceptually (being software designed to control a mechanical system) is not that different from code in a car's ECU.

Cathy

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2015, 07:13:16 PM »
Jack and I may be kindred spirits. Copyright law and its incompatibility with property rights used to be one of my pet issues, although I don't talk about it as much these days.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2015, 07:50:54 PM »
Quote
22. two_front_teeth: Suppose your doctor told you that you needed a medical procedure to
survive but that the procedure would require inserting a device inside
of your body which ran proprietary software. Would you be willing to
have the procedure done to save your life?

RMS: The only way I could justify this is if I began developing a free
replacement for that very program. It is ok to use a nonfree program
for the purpose of developing its free replacement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
23. dballing: I was reading your positions on "how you do your computing" at
http://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html and wondered about
something. You won't use Skype, because it's a "non-free" means of
communication.

RMS: More precisely I said using Skype encourages other people to use
nonfree software.

But the phone you probably have on your desk right now probably has
copyrighted code on it for doing speed-dial functionality, how to make
the blinkenlights light up on it, what to put on the display and how
to display it, etc. This isn't the 'transient-kiosk' situation or the
"someone else's computer briefly" where you don't own the device. In
this situation, you own and use non-free code (unless, of course,
you're still living with a rotary phone, in which case, this is moot).
Just about every modern appliance today comes with software loaded on
it, burned into chips, and you're given no rights to alter it in any
way... so no matter how much you might wish your oven had a pre-heat
cycle or something, or you wish your microwave had one of those
"popcorn bag" pre-determined-cook-cycle buttons, you couldn't do so.
Now, I'm assuming for the moment that you have a home with at least
somewhat modern appliances made in the last twenty years, which raises
the question of how you justify ownership of those non-free products?

Around 1984 or 1985, I considered the question of a microwave oven
like the one in the MIT AI lab that I used. Maybe it contained a
computer ("microcontroller") running a fixed program. Maybe it
contained a circuit. I could not tell from using it how it was made,
because installation of software was not part of its job.

I concluded that in such cases it makes no difference whether the
device has a microcontroller running a program or just a circuit.
Since installation of software was not a feature, a computer embedded
inside it might as well be a circuit. How the product was made was
internally a question we need not pay attention to.

When installation of software becomes one of the functions of the
device, then part of its job is to be a computer, and then we should
insist on having only free software on that computer.

If a device does not function as a computer, it can still be
malicious. Malicious features such as surveillance and digital
handcuffs (DRM) can be implemented in software or in hardware. When
it is done in software, putting free software in the device would
enable us to fix the problem. So in these cases, we might want to
put free software into the device even though its job doesn't include
being a computer.

For your freedom's sake, you should reject any product designed to
attack your freedom, unless you personally possess the means to defeat
the attack (for instance, to break the DRM). And please join
DefectiveByDesign.org and join our campaign against DRM. Don't take
for granted we will succeed in defending your freedom without your
participation.

http://www.redditblog.com/2010/07/rms-ama.html

With just these two quotes, Jack, you see the dilemma. One man's software is another man's hardware. Since I don't plan to modify my ECU, I consider the ECU to be part of the hardware of the car. If you do plan to modify your ECU, you will consider the code running on it as a separate piece of code, used to compute things, and you will want access to it.

Ain't life grand?

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2015, 08:16:03 PM »
With just these two quotes, Jack, you see the dilemma. One man's software is another man's hardware. Since I don't plan to modify my ECU, I consider the ECU to be part of the hardware of the car. If you do plan to modify your ECU, you will consider the code running on it as a separate piece of code, used to compute things, and you will want access to it.

I only see a false dilemma. Yes, there are sometimes opportunities for designers to choose whether to implement a feature in hardware or software (and for the purposes of this discussion, I count firmware as software if and only if it's updateable/reflashable). However, the dividing line is still quite clear: if you choose to make a feature "hardware" when it would have been just as cheap or easy (technically speaking) to make it "software," then you're acting unethically.

As an end-user, it is important that you support other users' right to modify their property in the same way that it's important for you to support other people's right to free speech even if you don't feel the need to exercise that right yourself. (Insert Niemöller quote here.)

The real problem is that you and the rest of the general public see this as a minor issue of backyard DIYers being inconvenienced (or worse, think that restrictions are good because you're irrationally paranoid about hackers). But in truth, it's a genuine civil rights issue which will become increasingly important in the future.

Peony

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2015, 08:22:08 PM »
Here's another interesting article on this subject: http://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/?mbid=social_fb .

a1smith

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2015, 10:39:05 PM »
The lockout mechanisms that prevent reflashing ECU, etc. are mandated by CARB (California Air Resources Board).  It is part of the OBD-II standard.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2015, 12:45:44 PM »
Jack, I resent your remark. I am a hacker, developer, designer, fiddler, tinkerer; you're ignoring my words to focus on your indignation. I've said, multiple times, that I vehemently disagree with passing laws for this. I want you to have every right to modify whatever you own, however you want. However, I also support the rights of a company to design something you can't (at least, not easily) modify. It's a free market: they get to make what they want, you get to buy what you want.

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2015, 12:59:28 PM »
Jack, I resent your remark.

In my previous response, I intended to use "you" to mean "you all, generally" not "you, gimp in particular." I apologize for my lack of clarity.

It's a free market: they get to make what they want, you get to buy what you want.

Is it? Keep in mind that we're talking about a market where Microsoft uses its dominant position to strong-arm OEMs into implementing things like Secure Boot. Or a market where cell phone carriers can disallow using unlocked/rooted phones on their networks. Or a market where CARB forces car ECUs to be DRM'd (as a1smith alleges), and California's market dominance means that they're DRM'd for cars in every other state too. Or indeed, any market where products contain anything covered by copyright, since copyright inherently represents government interference in the market.

No, this "free market" you're talking about is imaginary; it doesn't exist.

Reynold

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2015, 03:13:03 PM »
Even aside from the legality issues, manufacturers with software on your hardware can have a lot of leverage for something expensive enough that you can't just throw it away and buy another.

I previously worked for a semiconductor company that had a large, fairly expensive piece of test equipment in the R&E clean room.  We had bought it used, for about 10 cents on the dollar, from a third party company, not unusual for used semiconductor equipment.  Worked fine for a year or so, then had a malfunction complex enough that we needed a service person from the manufacturer, instead of the third party outfit.  The manufacturer wanted to charge us a fee of about 20% of the new machine price for "software rights" before they would even send someone to diagnose it.  We didn't have much choice if we wanted it working again.  All perfectly legal on their part, it doesn't even need any new laws. 

A car certainly falls in that category of "expensive enough that you can't just throw it away, and complex enough that once in awhile going forward you may NEED a dealer to fix something". . .

russianswinga

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2015, 05:03:59 PM »
So Ferrari does this in a way already. The majority of the car's diagnostics are not available through the OBD-II port. OBD-II in a mid-2000's Ferrari F430 for example provides ONLY the information it's required to by the spec - a base error code, rpm reading, etc.
The rest of the ECU diagnostics (and reset capabilites) require a $200,000 tool. Which you have to purchase directly from Maranello. And trained in in Italy before they sell it to you. And pay a $60,000 / yr software fee to license the product.
So you're welcome to open a mechanic's shop that services Ferraris, but if you want to do a simple thing like a timing belt change, which REQUIRES you to re-set parameters in the ECU, you're at least $260,000 in on computer equipment before you touch your first car.
What I'm saying is this is already well in effect, not coming in the future.

BlueMR2

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2015, 06:54:03 PM »
The funny thing is how it's being mostly claimed for "safety".  The newer cars may be a lot harder to get access to various parts for repair, but they are significantly easier to actually fix in a safe manner.  Older cars had lots of fiddly little things that were basically something between an art form and voodoo to get just right (think carbs & drum brakes).  New cars, everything is plug & play + software.  There are more people out there now that can write ECU software than there were that could properly setup a carb back in the day.  The technology is not really a challenge, going digital makes it so much easier for third parties.  I think that's what's really scaring the automakers.

Hamster

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2015, 12:13:21 AM »
Here is an article on this very topic, in this case using John Deere as an example. Basically they are stating that  Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, when you buy a vehicle with their software in it, you are implicitly licensing the vehicle from them.
Wired. We can't let John Deere destroy the very idea of ownership

Daleth

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2015, 07:51:42 AM »
Jack and I may be kindred spirits. Copyright law and its incompatibility with property rights used to be one of my pet issues, although I don't talk about it as much these days.

Copyright law is a property right.

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2015, 09:10:25 AM »
Jack and I may be kindred spirits. Copyright law and its incompatibility with property rights used to be one of my pet issues, although I don't talk about it as much these days.

Copyright law is a property right.

Nope, it has almost nothing in common with actual property rights.

First of all, copyright is nothing more than a tool for the purpose of "promot[ing] the progress of science and the useful arts." Compensating creators for some kind of moral reason (e.g. "because they deserve it") was never a consideration. The only consideration -- at least until Disney's lobbyists fucked it all up -- was "what policy maximizes innovation?"

Second, the inherent nature of creative works is that they behave almost entirely unlike property. In the absence of law, I can "own" an object by physically controlling it. If I have it, I can use it but nobody else can. In order for somebody else to use it, I have to give it up. The object's value to society is a zero-sum game: when it's transferred from one person to another, its value to the first person goes down the same amount its value to the second person goes up.

In contrast, in the absence of law an idea is impossible to control (except by keeping it secret). If I'm the only one who has an idea, it's generally useless until I share it. And when I do share it, its value to society increases -- actually, even that's an understatement. The value of an idea is caused by its sharing!

Third, it's patently obvious (pun intended) that copyrights (and patents) are not and never were intended to be property rights under law. Why? Because of the simple fact that they expire! If they conveyed a bona-fide property right, then expiring them without compensation (i.e., eminent domain) would be a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Of course, you don't have to take my word for it. Read this, this and most importantly, this letter, written by Thomas Jefferson himself.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2015, 07:22:51 PM »
You know, microsoft is a good parallel. I don't like the way microsoft conducts business, so I simply... don't use them. Or their products.

I don't use carriers that disallow rooted / unlocked phones.

Ferrari is an interesting case. Did you know that they have the right of first purchase? I don't know the full extent of it, but certainly for their more expensive models, you can't resell your car without their permission. This may even be true for their base models. Not only that, but they can buy the car back from you, if they want - so if you decide to turn it into nyan cat, they can decide it doesn't represent ferrari very well and revoke your ownership. Pretty crazy, but then, you sign a contract when you buy the new car agreeing to these rules.

On the plus side, if you have two hundred grand (or two million) to drop on a car, you can choose others that will let you paint whatever you want on it.

I think California's restrictions are, well, too restricted. They tend to go overboard with this kind of stuff. It's well-meaning, but it makes me want to vote for small government, if such a thing actually existed; they take things too far. The amount of people who flash their ECU is just not large enough to worry about. On the plus side, it does make life a little better for everyone else...

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2015, 09:41:28 PM »
You know, microsoft is a good parallel. I don't like the way microsoft conducts business, so I simply... don't use them. Or their products.

So which do you use, a Mac or an obsolete computer?*

I ask because if you're using a recent computer then it was likely "designed for Windows 8," which means your Linux installation relies on Microsoft having given permission (by signing your distro's key) for it to boot. Therefore, you're still doing business with Microsoft even though you're using Linux.

And even if that's not the case for your current computer, it's increasingly likely that it will be the case for your next one.

You can try to avoid it by using a Chromebook or something even more limited and exotic (e.g. some kind of ARM or Loongson thing), but otherwise you have to resign yourself to using obsolete hardware (like how RMS still uses a Thinkpad X60).

Besides, at this point do you like the way Apple or Google conduct business, either? While I concede that it's reasonable to avoid Microsoft, it's damn near impossible to avoid all three unless you become an RMS-like extremist. Not only can your smartphone not use iOS, Android or Windows Mobile, it can't even use Firefox OS because Firefox is tied to Yahoo, and Yahoo is tied to Bing (Microsoft's search engine).

(* The third, and admittedly most likely, possibility is that you're using a desktop you assembled yourself. But it sounds better rhetorically if I ignore that... and doing so is somewhat valid, because most people use laptops or tablets these days and you're probably not going to be DIYing one of those.)

GetItRight

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2015, 10:12:04 PM »
The car owner can choose whether to buy a device that is locked down and prevents them from editing its internals. They're not forcing you to buy it.

They are forcing you to buy it when the entire industry colludes to make sure locked-down shit is the only thing available.

I've never bought a vehicle with any sort of proprietary locked down electronics and never will. Maybe a head unit, but I'm not locked into anything if it breaks and have no desire to try to repair beyond basic troubleshooting... If it breaks I'll just buy another one for under $100 and enjoy music again.

Cars last forever, they can always be maintained, repaired, rebuilt and restored. If this concerns you just vote with your dollars and buy only purely mechanical non computerized vehicles. If you like fuel injection, electronics, and the associated tinkering and complexity there are plenty of aftermarket systems or you can put together your own with combinations off off the shelf OEM parts and aftermarket or homemade parts. Bottom line is unless government outlaws carbureted or mechanically injected vehicles there will always be a choice. Government is pure concentrated evil but I think those of us who value freedom in vehicles and travel are a small enough minority that we are not a high priority target.

Cathy

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2015, 10:21:26 PM »
...Government is pure concentrated evil...

You've hit upon one of the major distinctions between copyright compared to a contract. A contract not to distribute or sell a work without permission (such as the car contract discussed above) is only enforceable against the parties to the contract. Such a contract is not enforceable against third parties.

For example, in the absence of copyright law, I could sell my book as part of a contract that provided that the recipient of the book could not make copies of the book, but that contract would only be enforceable against the person who bought the book from me. If that person violated the contract and went ahead and distributed bootleg copies of the book, I would have no cause of action against the downstream recipients of the unauthorised copies of the book because they were not parties to the contract. My only remedy would be to sue the person who directly bought the book from me.

By contrast, copyright law allows for a form of "super contract" that binds almost everybody in the world, not just parties to the original transaction. That is one philosophical reason that many libertarians are not fans of it (although by no means the only reason).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 11:27:31 AM by Cathy »

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #40 on: April 23, 2015, 10:43:32 PM »
Bottom line is unless government outlaws carbureted or mechanically injected vehicles there will always be a choice.

That already happened. The last carbureted car or light truck sold in the US was a 1994 model. It's pretty much no longer possible to make a non-electronic car that meets emissions standards (even Federal EPA ones, let alone CARB).

I should also mention, by the way, that I have little problem with the government telling me I can't modify my property to violate emissions standards. Protecting the 'commons' is a legitimate government function, and rules restricting my freedom which were created via a (more-or-less) democratic process are justifiable. What I have a problem with is when lobbyists twist and warp the law in such a way as to give corporations carte blanche to write their own rules to restrict my freedom in any way the corporation sees fit.

...Government is pure concentrated evil...

I may be in the minority, but I always enjoy reading your colourful disparaging remarks about government. That doesn't mean I agree with them, but I appreciate the diversity of opinion that they bring to the forum.

...

By contrast, copyright law allows for a form of "super contract" that binds almost everybody in the world, not just parties to the original transaction. That is one philosophical reason that many libertarians are not fans of it (although by no means the only reason).

I always love it when I talk about what's wrong with copyright and then folks chime in with generic right-wing (not libertarian; more like tea-party) arguments that the "free market" would solve the problem. They never seem to realize that copyright is, in fact, a government granted and enforced monopoly, and as such is exactly the opposite of a free market. They just spout pro-corporate talking points without stopping to think about them, because if they did they'd realize that they were actually agreeing with me!

In other words, GetItRight is absolutely correct: the free market really would solve my problem. But what he may not realize is that implementing a free market would require abolishing copyright entirely first!

Spork

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #41 on: April 23, 2015, 10:47:27 PM »
You know, microsoft is a good parallel. I don't like the way microsoft conducts business, so I simply... don't use them. Or their products.


I ask because if you're using a recent computer then it was likely "designed for Windows 8," which means your Linux installation relies on Microsoft having given permission (by signing your distro's key) for it to boot. Therefore, you're still doing business with Microsoft even though you're using Linux.


Not to thread jack your argument... but are there some recent computers that don't have the ability to disable UFEI in the BIOS?  I have a fairly recent laptop ... and it still had a Legacy boot option.  I'm about to buy another... is this something I have to shop around for now?

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2015, 11:25:52 PM »
Not to thread jack your argument... but are there some recent computers that don't have the ability to disable UFEI in the BIOS?  I have a fairly recent laptop ... and it still had a Legacy boot option.  I'm about to buy another... is this something I have to shop around for now?

I think Windows 8.1 on x86 is safe, but anything running Windows 8 RT or any version of the upcoming Windows 10 is allowed to omit the ability to disable UEFI.

I assume Mac firmware supports UEFI these days, but I have no idea what Apple's policy is about it.

Chrome OS devices have a "developer mode," but I don't know if Google requires manufacturers to implement it or just recommends that they do.

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #43 on: April 24, 2015, 02:31:39 PM »
:)

Apple uses EFI, to my knowledge. This is not the same as UEFI. UEFI and EFI are pretty good ideas in theory, but the control MS exerts over them is not good.

Of course, I built my own machine, and don't deal with secure boot or any such nonsense. Kitted out to an extreme that I always wanted, and could never afford (free top-end cpu courtesy of intel); I suspect it will last me ten years with minimal upgrades, which is also something that nobody could say about their machines before focus shifted to perf/watt and multi-threaded perf instead of single-threaded perf.

At work, I use a macbook, which converted me in about three days. I might care about the hardware specs of my hulking desktop, but as long as my laptop is reasonably fast, I don't care whether it's 10% faster or 10% slower - especially since I use it to remote into bigger, meaner machines for my hardware development work - but I do care a lot about things like the machine not deciding to break, both physically and software-wise. My previous laptop was a white box, custom built hulking beast; I am surprised it lasted for 5+ years (and is still alive); it has great specs but it's a shitty machine in every sense of the word except for a fast cpu clock speed.

Since I worked at intel and have seen the company from the inside, I don't really have any worries about the future of linux on consumer machines. Intel has no interest in being beholden to a single operating system, even if most of their client (non-mobile, non-server) machines do run windows. Intel is also a bigger swinging dick - sure, MS is about 2-2.5x larger as far as market cap goes, but the control Intel exerts over the hardware ecosystem is much larger. They play nicely with partners, but they always have fallbacks if partners stop playing nicely - for example, EFI versus UEFI. And since they provide reference designs for every new generation of motherboard, well, you see where I'm going with this.



There are two points I'd like to bring into this back-and-forth, which, by the way, I am enjoying. Polite debate is nice.

One: I'm a hardware-nee-software guy. I see a lot of the stack, top to bottom, bottom to top. I am fairly certain that despite every other vendor trying to enforce lock-out and lock-in, it simply won't happen; there are always companies selling unlocked whatever, there are always organizations providing unlocked whatever for free, and there are always people like us breaking stupid restrictions and publishing them.

Two: Trusting trust. Have you heard this, read this? It's almost a pre-requisite for a conversation like this.

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #44 on: April 24, 2015, 04:14:50 PM »
Since I worked at intel and have seen the company from the inside, I don't really have any worries about the future of linux on consumer machines. Intel has no interest in being beholden to a single operating system, even if most of their client (non-mobile, non-server) machines do run windows.

Intel appears perfectly willing to be beholden to Microsoft for playing 4K movies, at least.

One: I'm a hardware-nee-software guy. I see a lot of the stack, top to bottom, bottom to top. I am fairly certain that despite every other vendor trying to enforce lock-out and lock-in, it simply won't happen; there are always companies selling unlocked whatever, there are always organizations providing unlocked whatever for free, and there are always people like us breaking stupid restrictions and publishing them.

"Unbreakable" DRM is mathematically impossible, but that doesn't mean the copyright cartel can't come really, really close. Once it gets to the point where breaking it requires cracking open the CPU and looking at it with an electron microscope, it might as well be game over. And by the way, I haven't read about the technical details yet, but given the article I linked we may very well be at that point!

Besides, this is fundamentally not a technological problem; it's a political one. The harder people try to break DRM, the harder the copyright cartel lobbies the government to make increasingly draconian laws punishing them.

Aaron Swartz, for example, is dead because of copyright. When that sort of travesty is allowed to happen, it is no longer acceptable to ignore the issue, regardless of one's faith in the technology or the math. Tyranny must be actively opposed.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

Two: Trusting trust. Have you heard this, read this? It's almost a pre-requisite for a conversation like this.

Are you talking about the Ken Thompson hack, or something else?

gimp

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #45 on: April 24, 2015, 08:23:09 PM »
Of course, Ken Thompson.

Aaron swartz killed himself because, well, for whatever reasons people kill themselves. Not the most stable of individuals. Let's see... he downloaded a bunch of stuff (that should have been freely available, but was not), and then shared it, right? Most people who do that and get caught shrug their shoulders and either pay a token fee or fight it in court or leave the country or whatever.

I read the article. It's hardware DRM for movies on official media / through official downloads, played on windows. They most likely asked for some hardware blocks to do certain operations faster, which otherwise they would have had to do in software, and would have been too slow for 4k video. In other words, a hardware accelerator. Solution: don't watch 4k video from hollywood on their media or through their channels if you don't want to support them doing this. Again, it's a choice you have, not the only option; it's not like every piece of 4k media is impossible to play without microsoft's permission (and I play 4k media on my 4k screen with no issue whatsoever.) Every time there's more DRM, it punishes honest customers, but I don't notice, because, well...

Jack

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2015, 05:00:08 AM »
Aaron swartz killed himself because, well, for whatever reasons people kill themselves. Not the most stable of individuals. Let's see... he downloaded a bunch of stuff (that should have been freely available, but was not), and then shared it, right? Most people who do that and get caught shrug their shoulders and either pay a token fee or fight it in court or leave the country or whatever.

He was charged with 13 felonies, adding up to 50 years in prison and a million-dollar fine, for doing something that was not wrong in the first place! Even the plea deal he was offered would have required him to accept felony convictions, disenfranchising him and ruining his career.

Granted, his reaction was not great, but that doesn't change the inherent injustice of the situation.

TL;DR: Life ruined for doing nothing wrong, except pissing off powerful people. And you think that's not a big deal?!

Of course, Ken Thompson.

Okay, but what does that have to do with what we're talking about? Are you suggesting that we should defeat DRM by infiltrating the companies who use it and sabotaging their compilers?

Even if such a strategy were logistically feasible -- and I don't think it is -- the fact remains that we (ethically speaking) shouldn't have to resort to such things in the first place.

I read the article. It's hardware DRM...

Exactly. And it's to be used for movies for now, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be useful for other things, like locking out Linux, censoring the internet, hiding a rootkit, or who knows what else. After all, the article was sans technical details (and Microsoft is keeping them secret); we don't know what this technology is capable of yet. Nevertheless, the fundamental truth remains that any computer containing this technology is hostile to its rightful owner and cannot be trusted. With all major CPU makers building it in, good luck finding a computer you can trust!

Daleth

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2015, 08:29:30 AM »
Aaron swartz killed himself because, well, for whatever reasons people kill themselves. Not the most stable of individuals. Let's see... he downloaded a bunch of stuff (that should have been freely available, but was not), and then shared it, right? Most people who do that and get caught shrug their shoulders and either pay a token fee or fight it in court or leave the country or whatever.

He was charged with 13 felonies, adding up to 50 years in prison and a million-dollar fine, for doing something that was not wrong in the first place! Even the plea deal he was offered would have required him to accept felony convictions, disenfranchising him and ruining his career.

Granted, his reaction was not great, but that doesn't change the inherent injustice of the situation.

TL;DR: Life ruined for doing nothing wrong, except pissing off powerful people. And you think that's not a big deal?!

Word. You're absolutely right.

Daleth

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2015, 08:34:48 AM »
That's the problem! Apparently, nobody cares that it's ridiculous for copyright to apply to non-copying activities, because they're applying it anyway. Copyright is turning into the 21st Century's Interstate Commerce Clause, with all the expansion of government tyranny that entails.

Do you think it would be fair if you wrote a novel and some Hollywood studio made it into a movie without paying you or asking your permission? Or even crediting you? That's not copying. It's creating a derivative work.

Do you think it would be fair if you made a movie, and then some Hollywood studio distributed it and made millions in ticket sales without giving you a dime? What if you wrote a song, a major act recorded and released it, and didn't pay you a dime?

That's why copyright covers more than just copying.


FIRE me

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Re: Automakers want it to be illegal to repair your own car
« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2015, 12:53:18 PM »
Hell, even Stallman would disagree with you, Jack.

In this, you are very mistaken. Richard Stallman is against all closed source code. Heck, he is even against open source that does not grant the user all rights of the GPL. I am a Free Software Foundation dues paying member, and I am well aware of RMS's and the FSF positions.