Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.
The fight for our right to repair the stuff we own has suffered a huge setback.
As anyone who repairs electronics knows, keeping a device in working order often means fixing both its hardware and software. But a big California farmers’ lobbying group just blithely signed away farmers’ right to access or modify the source code of any farm equipment software. As an organization representing 2.5 million California agriculture jobs, the California Farm Bureau gave up the right to purchase repair parts without going through a dealer. Farmers can’t change engine settings, can’t retrofit old equipment with new features, and can’t modify their tractors to meet new environmental standards on their own. Worse, the lobbyists are calling it a victory.