In spring, 2015, American farmers started to spread the word that John Deere claimed that a notorious copyright law gave the company exclusive dominion over repairs to Deere farm-equipment, making it a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense) to fix your own tractor.
Farmers asked the US Copyright Office to grant an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- the law that bans breaking DRM, even when you're not infringing copyright. This is part of a wider trend in which agribusiness is using technology laws to extract rents from farmers, even from farm equipment that the farmer owns free and clear (for example, Deere uses its DRM system to lock farmers into using seed from partners like Monsanto in combination with the soil-density data gathered by their own tractors).
Now, Modern Farmer takes up the case against John Deere and for the right to repair (in so doing, Modern Farmer is bucking the trend; other farm magazines have been known to fire long-running contributors for daring to criticize Deere).
Not everyone is on the farmers’ side here; some, according to the Associated Press, are concerned that the move would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers, potentially landing them in trouble. But the tractor owners disagree, annoyed that their tractors are treated differently from their cars and trucks, which can be serviced by any independent shop.
Activists for the Nebraska Fair Repair Bill, which was rejected by the state senate last year but will probably be reintroduced next year, have set up a few resources to check out if you’re curious about just how frustrating it can be to be denied the right to repair your own dang tractor.
Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors
[Dan Nosowitz/Modern Farmer]
Tim Wu, the Colombia University law professor and anti-trust/competition expert who coined the term “Net Neutrality,” has published an open letter to Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Rogue archivist Rick Prelinger writes, “Oakland students planned to paint a mural on a dark freeway underpass in their city. The project is stalled because Caltrans asserts copyright to murals on its property. The details are a bit sketchy, but there’s a petition here.
Steven Boyett writes, “Humble Bundle has released a unicorn-themed Bundle, with proceeds to benefit the World Wide Fund for Nature and Fauna & Flora International. For as little as $1.00, you can get Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett (full disclosure: that’s me); Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop; Homeward Bound, by Bruce Coville; and Unicorn Triangle, […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]