US Copyright Office officially allows owners to work on their own car

Last year, the US Copyright Office granted an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright ACT (DMCA) that allows owners to legally modify and tinker with their vehicles. The long-awaited ruling went into effect on Friday, October 28th and will run for the next two years. The decision was a clear victory for tractor and automobile owners that can now legally work on their own vehicle's mechanical components, along with the car's electronic control systems and numerous computers without having to worry about breaking the law.

The Copyright Office stated the ruling would go into effect after 12 months. The exemption will run until 2018, when advocates will have to ask permission to repair their cars again.

Automakers argued against the ruling, taking the stand that the software in modern vehicles has become too advanced for average owners to comprehend and work on. Automakers claim cars are now "mobile computing devices," bringing automobiles and John Deere's tractors under the DMCA's umbrella. Both General Motors and John Deere previously claimed that the software in its machines didn't belong to the owners.

While modern computers and software have made cars safer than ever, hackers have revealed just how easy it can be to remotely take over a vehicle. The exemption will also give owners the ability to check their own cars for security vulnerabilities without visiting a dealership.

To read an in-depth story on the ruling and what it means for owners that work on their vehicles, check out this article.

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