GM has joined with John Deere in asking the government to confirm that you literally cannot own your car because of the software in its engine.
Like Deere, GM wants to stop the Copyright Office from granting an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that would allow you to jailbreak the code in your car's engine so that you can take it to a non-GM mechanic for service, or fix it yourself. By controlling who can service your car, GM can force you to buy only official, expensive parts, protecting its bottom line.
As Consumerist quips, GM wants you to know that the car in the driveway is "literally not your father's Oldsmobile."
GM’s claim is all about copyright and software code, and it’s the same claim John Deere is making about their tractors. The TL;DR version of the argument goes something like this:
Cars work because software tells all the parts how to operate
The software that tells all the parts to operate is customized code
That code is subject to copyright
GM owns the copyright on that code and that software
A modern car cannot run without that software; it is integral to all systems
Therefore, the purchase or use of that car is a licensing agreement
And since it is subject to a licensing agreement, GM is the owner and can allow/disallow certain uses or access.
GM: That Car You Bought? We’re Really The Ones Who Own It. [Kate Cox/Consumerist]
(Image: A.P. Giannini,
Eric E Castro, CC-BY)
In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who’ll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you.
In 2013, Lavabit — famous for being the privacy-oriented email service chosen by Edward Snowden to make contact with journalists while he was contracting for the NSA — shut down under mysterious, abrupt circumstances, leaving 410,000 users wondering what had just happened to their email addresses.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
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