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]
Nothing conjures up the eldritch geometries that are the secret fuel of Disney's Haunted Mansion like the hair-pulling geometrical puzzles posed by Ikea assembly instructions: hence, Spöke Håus, $20 and up on Teefury, proving once again that trademark violation is your best entertainment dollar.
[My EFF colleague Katharine is back with a very important message about a singularly stupid and dangerous legislative proposal that is steamrolling through Congress; even by the standards of stupid and dangerous Congressional copyright rules, this one is an exception -Cory] Every year, for a couple of years now, Congress has debated passing some version […]
In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Green European Journal short story about the terrible European Copyright Directive which passed last March, False Flag. Published in December 2018, the story highlights the ways in which this badly considered law creates unlimited opportunities for abuse, especially censorship by corporations who've been embarassed by whistleblowers and […]
With the gains real estate has made over stocks in the past 25 years, it’s easy to see why the rich constantly use it to expand their wealth. What’s slightly less obvious is why only the rich seem to ever break into real estate investment. There are a lot of reasons, but a couple of […]
If you’re a coder, there’s a multitude of avenues for you to take your skills. Whether you’re just jumping into the world of programming or looking to rise up the ranks as an established professional, a wide base of knowledge is key. And this Premium 2020 Learn to Code Certification Bundle is a resource that’s […]
Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge. When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model […]