Documentary on the DRM-breaking farmers who just want to fix their tractors, even if they have to download bootleg Ukrainian firmware to do it

Motherboard's short documentary, "Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech's Repair Monopoly" is an excellent look at the absurd situation created by John Deere's position that you can't own your tractor because you only license the software inside it, meaning that only Deere can fix Deere's tractors, and the centuries-old tradition of farmers fixing their agricultural equipment should end because Deere's shareholders would prefer it that way. Read the rest

Why electrical engineers should support the right to repair

Writing in IEEE Spectrum, iFixit's superhero founder Kyle Wiens and Repair.org exective director Gay Gordon-Byrne bring the case for the right to repair (previously) to the engineering community, describing the economic, technical, and environmental benefits of permitting a domestic industry of local, expert technologists to help their neighbors get more out of their gadgets. Read the rest

EFF will tell the Copyright Office (again) to protect your right to remix, study and tinker

Every three years, the US Copyright Office has to ask America about all the ways in which Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which bans bypassing DRM, even for legitimate reasons) interferes with our lives, and then it grants limited exemptions based on the results. Read the rest

Hiding malware in boobytrapped replacement screens would undetectably compromise your mobile device

On the one hand, if you let an untrusted stranger install hardware in your electronic device, you're opening yourself up to all kinds of potential mischief; on the other hand, an estimated one in five smartphones has a cracked screen and the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way to get that fixed is to go to your corner repair-shop. Read the rest

The EU's Right to Repair proposal makes America's look weaksauce

Eight US states are trying to pass minimal Right to Repair legislation that would require companies not to actively confound people who wanted to fix their stuff or choose an independent repair center. But in the EU, Europeans' strong preference for "durable, high-quality products that can be repaired and upgraded" has led to a proposal to require goods sold in Europe to be designed for improvement and maintenance, on the lines of the inspiring and enduring Maker's Bill of Rights. Read the rest

What's wrong with the Copyright Office's DRM study?

This month's US Copyright Office study on Section 1201 of the DMCA identified many problems with America's DRM laws, which ban bypassing DRM even when no copyright infringement takes place. Read the rest

US Copyright Office recommends sweeping, welcome changes to America's DRM laws

A new report from the US Copyright Office on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- a controversial law that bans breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes -- calls for sweeping, welcome changes to the DMCA. Read the rest

Apple, CTA and Big Car are working in secret to kill New York's Right to Repair legislation

Here's the list of companies that are quietly lobbying to kill New York State's Right to Repair legislation (previously), which would force companies to halt anticompetitive practices that prevent small businesses from offering repair services to their communities: "Apple, Verizon, Toyota, Lexmark, Caterpillar, Asurion, Medtronic" and the Consumer Technology Association "which represents thousands of electronics manufacturers." Read the rest

Independent repair guy on the planned obsolescence of Apple products

Louis Rossmann is an independent service technician in New York City who has repaired Apple products for years. Read the rest

More on the desperate farmers jailbreaking their tractors' DRM to bring in the harvest

John Deere says that farmers don't really own their tractors -- even the ones they buy used! -- because the copyrighted software necessary to run those tractors is licensed, not sold. Read the rest

Farmers in Canada are also reduced to secretly fixing their tractors, thanks to DRM

In 2011, the Canadian Conservative government rammed through Bill C-11, Canada's answer to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in which the property rights of Canadians were gutted in order to ensure that corporations could use DRM to control how they used their property -- like its US cousin, the Canadian law banned breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes, like effecting repairs or using third party parts. Read the rest

Desperate John Deere tractor owners are downloading illegal Ukrainian firmware hacks to get the crops in

John Deere is notorious for arguing that farmers who buy its tractors actually "license" them because Deere still owns the copyright to the tractors' software; in 2015, the US Copyright Office affirmed that farmers were allowed to jailbreak their tractors to effect repairs and modifications. Read the rest

How license "agreements" interfere with the right to repair

States across America are considering "Right to Repair" legislation that would guarantee your right to choose who fixes your stuff (or to fix it yourself); but they're fighting stiff headwinds, from the motorcycle makers who claim that fixing your motorcycle should be a crime to Apple, who feel the same way, but about phones. Read the rest

Coming to DC on March 6: a panel on right to repair, DRM, and property rights in the digital age

On Monday, March 6 at 10AM, I'll be participating in a non-partisan R-Street event on "Property Rights in the Digital Age," with participants from the Heritage Foundation, R-Street, the Open Technology Institute, and Freedomworks: "As we enter an age near total connectivity, we must ask ourselves, are our laws keeping up with technology? Do we need to rewrite the rules to preserve our traditional notions of property, or embrace the brave new world of licensing everything?" (RSVP) Read the rest

Kickstarting a car-hacking tool that lets you take control of your own vehicle

The fully-funded Macchina project on Kickstarter is an Arduino-based, "open, versatile" gadget that bypasses the DRM in your car's network, allowing you to configure it to work the way you want it to, so you can customize your car in all kinds of cool ways. Read the rest

Source tells Motherboard that Apple will testify against Nebraska's "Right to Repair" law

Motherboard says a source told them that "an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify" against the state's Right to Repair bill, which requires companies to make it easy for their customers to choose from a variety of repair options, from official channels to third parties to DIY. Read the rest

Big Motorcycle wants to make fixing your own bike a crime

Nebraska is one of five states considering Right to Repair laws that would require companies to provide manuals and parts so that people could fix their own stuff, or get their stuff fixed by independent service centers, and the lobby groups for ATVs and motorcycles are pissed. Read the rest

More posts