• Karolena Serratos

Vehicle Modifications to Become Illegal

This is a tough pill to swallow. Something that has been purely American since vehicles first came around was working on the family car with your pop in the driveway. While that tradition has slowly been dying, manufactures now want to restrict innovation in addition to completely killing the American tradition.

How are manufactures going to accomplish this initiative? By claiming your vehicle is a ‘mobile computing device’ and therefore needs to be protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Now the Act itself has been around since 1998, when President Bill Clinton signed it into law. In its original form it basically offers intellectual property protection rights to prevent online/tech piracy.

In the manufactures’ defense vehicles today are indeed much more complex than previously designed and they will only be requiring even more software in the future to operate. Perhaps some functions should be restricted for safety concerns such as braking and air bag systems. But, however exciting as Jason Aldean makes taking your date on a tractor ride to be, John Deere is getting ahead of itself by claiming people would pirate music with their vehicle through the on-board entertainment system.

John Deere goes on to claim the buyer of the vehicle does not own it. The buyer is really just a permanent licensee and therefore has no right to modify anything. So if you are experiencing problems with these perfectly designed vehicles* who are you to turn to? Many independent automotive facilities have been locked out of this just as you. And despite the original DMCA having a clause for computer technicians and I would hope the same courtesy to be placed on automotive professionals; I cannot help but be lead to believe manufactures are creating a monopoly. Unfortunately, it will be the average American who is going to suffer through their pocket book and freedoms.

Yahoo Autos found 13 automakers that are in support of the DMCA push;

  • General Motors Company

  • BMW Group


  • Ford Motor Company

  • Jaguar Land Rover

  • Mazda

  • Mercedes-Benz USA

  • Mitsubishi Motors

  • Porsche

  • Toyota

  • Volkswagen Group of America

  • Volvo Cars North America

I must say I was shocked to discover Tesla is NOT on the list, which would be the only company I would almost completely understand being the leader of such a push.

Tinkers are investigating their problems and pushing innovation by finding creative solutions. In a digital age, many modifications are coming to come through the form of software.

*Please read any of my recall blog posts which are responsible for the deaths of Americans

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