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Old 22nd April 2015, 06:55   #1
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Default Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

By applying copyright law provisions. This is crazy.

And I guess now that they've started it stateside, our local companies will pick this bad habit up fast, like the ISPs picked up net neutrality violations.

http://www.autoblog.com/2015/04/20/a...s-car-repairs/

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Old 22nd April 2015, 07:39   #2
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

Messing up the ECU parameters voids warranty. A void warranty is no longer the manufacturer's headache. We all know that. Then where does the problem lie. Tomorrow they will say you cannot root your phone anymore. I have bought the product and I have every right to make mods to it. And BTW how will the manufacturer monitor each and every product while it is at the customer's home. This idea is a no go.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 08:02   #3
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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Messing up the ECU parameters voids warranty. A void warranty is no longer the manufacturer's headache. We all know that. Then where does the problem lie. Tomorrow they will say you cannot root your phone anymore. I have bought the product and I have every right to make mods to it. And BTW how will the manufacturer monitor each and every product while it is at the customer's home. This idea is a no go.
How they will monitor is easy enough with RFID and phone home being the order of the day for diagnostics and such.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 08:51   #4
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This will not go through, especially in the US. While things like unlocking a phone under contract still come under a legal agreement, cars cannot fall under their purview. Especially in the US where the after market is many a time bigger than the manufacturer. From an Indian context also, this will fail since we already have the precedent of courts ordering manufacturers to sell spare parts in the market.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 09:45   #5
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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Messing up the ECU parameters voids warranty. A void warranty is no longer the manufacturer's headache. .
If you read the article you will see that from a manufacturers point of view it is much more than just warranty. It's also not strictly true that messing with the ECU paramters voids warranty. It really depends on the country ie legal system you find yourself. In most western countries, certainly in the Netherlands it would be up to the manufacture to establish a concrete relation between what the customer claims as warrenty and whether that is related to any DIY work done by the customer. They might try to vib you off, but take them to court and that is how it will play out.

Here's how Volve in the Netherlands used to deal with this. About 7-10 years or so I owned a company Volve S60 D5. Very boring, but very comfortable car, ideal for me as I was doing 80.000km a year. Volvo dealer offered official chipping the engine. More power/torgue etc. But is they charged something ridiculous like Euro 500. So of course, figured it out myself. When I brought the car in for its first service, they refused to service it, unless first they restored the original ECU settings at a cost of Euro 250. Unfortunately, they are, legally, entirely, entitled to take such position. So taak the car home, put the original ECU settings back in and took it to a different Volve dealer, who serviced the car no problem. Took it back home and rechipped it again.

I seem to recall that later on Volvo was able to see if the ECU was accessed through unauthorised channels.

They could never just void the warranty, if something broke they would have to proof there was a correlation between my chipping and whatever it was that broke. But they can refuse to work on a car that was chipped through DIY channels and charge to put it back to original specs.

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How they will monitor is easy enough with RFID and phone home being the order of the day for diagnostics and such.
I dont think they intend to monitor this on a continuous basis at all.

In general I find the article pretty good as it reflects probably pretty well the concerns of the automotive manufacturers. Although I can see some of the conern as genuine, I'm not sure how relevant it all is.

The notion that DIY mechanics dont have the knowledge on modern car electronics is laughable. Every single day DIY home mechanics are puttuing their collective knowledge and experience to good use fixing their cars and talking about it on the internet.The notion that it could be a thread to car safety? I hope not, and I dont think so. The likely hood of a brake problem occuring as a result of poorly executed pad or rotor replacement is infinitely larger than messing with the ECU.

Of course DIY work always introduces some risk, as just about anything in life. But the truth is, if I do a poor job, I will suffer and potentially I might run somebody over, which is of course extremely sad.

If a car manufacturer does a shoddy job producing a car the problem is huge as million of cars can cause death and mayhem. For an industry that recalls millions upon millons of cars every year, year on year, the need to get their shop in order before they start worrying about whether I do a good enough DIJ job on their car

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Old 22nd April 2015, 09:48   #6
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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And I guess now that they've started it stateside, our local companies will pick this bad habit up fast, like the ISPs picked up net neutrality violations.
Maybe that'll be the new-age definition of cartel, (a crooked syndicate of car & telephony companies). I'm not surprised, demand creates power for the producer and zero leverage for the consumer. Its a law of economics and the producers are cashing in.

This wouldn't be so bad if the car companies did it out of genuine concern for their products & for the consumer safety during driving, but this step is clearly done to monopolize servicing and make the authorised service station recommendation a commandment. The problem in India is people do not spend enough time to fight exploitation like they do in U.S (as far as I've heard law is much more stronger in U.S as are consumer rights). The past decade as India's economy showed strong growth, the automobile & mobile phone madness hit the roof with no objections to anti-consumer policies whatsoever and if this servicing law reaches here it won't ever be repelled. Let me quote a song by Megadeth called Symphony of Destruction here :

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

Edit : I do agree electronics and software embedding in a car must never ever be tampered with by most people, my only concern is that down the line even mechanical aspects of repair may be disallowed using insurance laws & warranty terms specially in a country like ours. Its then that servicing costs will rise exponentially as independent mechanics join organized sector. Irrational replacement recommendations are high as it is.

Last edited by dark.knight : 22nd April 2015 at 10:02.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 10:44   #7
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

One of the main sources of income for any dealer is through service.
Many of the European and US auto majors have a "perceived" high maintenance cost.
Some of that is even true, mainly in case of VW and Skoda.
This is evident in multiple threads in this forum itself.

Due to this, customers shift to FNGs to save on few bucks and this results in loss of revenue to the dealers.
They could have formed a consortium to curb and protect their margins leading to the genesis of them preventing FNGs and DIYs.

No issues if their policies are transparent and ethical and they look at alternatives of just replacing a part that can be repaired.
A customer would also like to have his car perennially serviced by ASC and venture out mainly due to extreme high handedness of ASCs or teh cost.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 11:23   #8
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Edit : I do agree electronics and software embedding in a car must never ever be tampered with by most people, my only concern is that down the line even mechanical aspects of repair may be disallowed using insurance laws & warranty terms specially in a country like ours. Its then that servicing costs will rise exponentially as independent mechanics join organized sector. Irrational replacement recommendations are high as it is.
Even now there's a good chance a dealer might refuse to service your car if you have any aftermarket installs in it - like say a stereo or a pair of high power headlights. So thank god for FNGs.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 18:12   #9
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

Two questions:
1. How can copyright law be invoked to stop car repair/modding?
2. What is FNG?
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Old 23rd April 2015, 06:08   #10
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

This seems too restrictive; I doubt this would come into effect. Esp. when it is the average car owner who will feel the pinch of going to the A.S.S. rather than a FNG/DIY.

I do see the point in floating this idea though; most cars today have way too complicated electronics (as compared to those perhaps 5 yrs back) and the average FNG will not be well versed with everything under the hood.

Ultimately, this idea is predominantly for manufacturers to absolve themselves of responsibility and liability and such a regulation will give them every reason under the sun to wash their hands off any problem with a vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by techiecal View Post
Messing up the ECU parameters voids warranty. A void warranty is no longer the manufacturer's headache.
Everything about the car's warranty status and whether there were any modifications that "voided" the warranty as per the manufacturer's guidelines will only be established *after* an accident. And the manufacturer would have had to spend a considerable time and money digging up all that information.

By then, the reputation of the vehicle, brand and the perception would have heavily dented.

I bet the manufacturer aim to look at preventing that rather than proving a vehicle was tampered with by a FNG.
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Old 23rd April 2015, 09:32   #11
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Two questions:
1. How can copyright law be invoked to stop car repair/modding?
2. What is FNG?
If it involves playing around with the car chipset settings / electronics then they can claim that these are patented designs, copyrighted software code etc etc.

"Friendly neighborhood garage" - local garages and mechanics with cheap + good service.
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Old 23rd April 2015, 12:35   #12
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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If it involves playing around with the car chipset settings / electronics then they can claim that these are patented designs, copyrighted software code etc etc.

"Friendly neighborhood garage" - local garages and mechanics with cheap + good service.
They will have to prove that the garage guy or the customer has actually made copies or modification to their firmware/code for commercial benefits.

Is that even possible?
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Old 23rd April 2015, 16:26   #13
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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They will have to prove that the garage guy or the customer has actually made copies or modification to their firmware/code for commercial benefits.

Is that even possible?
In general terms - you may want to see if there is an argument sufficient for them to sue you - or as this is copyright law, use something like an Anton Piller order to seize your car as supposedly infringing their copyright, AND tie you up in court proceedings for a few years.
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Old 23rd April 2015, 17:25   #14
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

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Originally Posted by hserus View Post
In general terms...
The bone of contention is
Quote:
Originally Posted by Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars
...modifying these ECUs and the software coding that runs them could lead to vulnerabilities in vehicle safety and cyber security.
Let's hear what the US Copyrights Office has to say on this first, instead of getting all worked up already.

Till then, and even afterwards, simple DIY/FNG work like an oil change or tyre rotation, changing a belt or hose or replacing a light bulb cannot possibly cause carmakers to sue owners.

In India, the first mover attempting to enforce such measures will probably be dropped like a hot potato by the biggest buyer of automobiles - the taxi trade - and the resultant loss in sales would be enough to convince them to change their stance.

For the time being, there is no point in speculating about what might be in the distant future.
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Old 23rd April 2015, 19:39   #15
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Default re: Car makers want to use 'copyright law' to prevent DIY repairs & modifications

Copyright laws are extremely difficult to understand. Even lawyers and specialist argue endlessly, no small wonder the general public is often left completely bewildered what it could entail.

Very different, but a real case example on what copyright means.

Years ago when we still lived in the Netherlands I was a board member of an International Primary School. The school was rapidly expanding and we needed a new building. We decided to get an architect and a builder and get ourselves a brand new school building. So far so good. Everything went fine, big opening party. Kids happy, teachers happy, parents happy, board happy. A few months later the board received a letter from the architect claiming we were infringing on his copyright.

He had visited the school and noticed, that inside the school hall, stairway, corridors, the teachers had hung and displayed the kids works (drawings, paintings and other kids handiwork). As one does, as this is a primary school, duh!

But the kids handiwork was obscuring his design and that constituted an copyright infringement! Our first thoughts was, what pot is this looney smoking? (remember this is the Netherlands). But when we consulted our lawyer, who verified also our contract with the architect, he advised us to come to a practical agreement. Or as he put it bluntly, you don't stand a chance in court.

We were flabbergasted. In the end we decided that our best chance to get him of our back was by mobilising the media. Of course, with an international school, you tend to have a few pupils with big shot parents. So we pulled together a parent tag team of Multinational CEOs, Ambassadors and a few heads of some very big European Institutions.

The board invited the architect for a meeting. He confirmed, arrived, we sat him down, gave him a cup of coffee. Then we told him we had 6 parents waiting who would like to talk to him and we paraded them in. They introduced themselves and believe me, half of them needed no introduction. Then parent by parent they told the architect, that they understood his formal legal copyright claim, were not going to contest it, but they did explain how they would be using their personal network to expose this utterly ridiculous claim. By the time parent number three was to start her little speech, the architect gave in and waved his copyrights as far as was relevant for normal kinder garden operations of the building.

Funny thing these copyright laws.
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