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Copyright Office Recommends Permanent Exemptions to Software Locks | Rural Radio Network

Copyright Office Recommends Permanent Exemptions to Software Locks

A U.S. Copyright Office report says it no longer wants to review exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyrights Act every three years. The office wants Congress to pass laws that give consumers a permanent “right-to-repair.”

The issue has come up before the office on a much more regular basis, due in part to right-to-repair bills brought before eleven state legislatures.

Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of The Repair Association says, “Even when DRM locks are off the table — as they are today for cars, trucks, and tractors — the lions share of repair is blocked by unfair and deceptive trade contracts — which have nothing to do with copyright law and are 100% under the control of states.  We estimate that 80% of all repair limitations are resolved by state law, with or without changes to copyright law.”

Gordon-Byrne went on to say, “So far as AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers)  is concerned, they have consistently failed to explain why unfair and deceptive contracts should be tolerated.  Their comments about warranties and emissions violations are totally misdirected.”

The Repair Association says as far as the AEM is concerned, their comments about warranties and emissions violations are totally misdirected.

Gordan-Byrne adds, warranties are limited promises of repairs over a designated period of time.  Owners always have the option of performing repairs outside of warranty, and federal law protects them from losing warranty coverage by doing so.  The need for repair extends for decades beyond warranty which is the practical problem addressed by Fair Repair bills.

Also, she says tinkering with emissions settings has nothing to do with repair.  Access to emissions and engine software is controlled by copyright law, and is not altered by any state law. The recent Copyright Office exemption to tinkering with tractors specifically reinforces that the equipment owner (not the vendor) must comply with any and all EPA or other legal requirements.
She says there are currently twelve states with “right to repair” bills.
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