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Veteran Contributor

“Destroying the very idea of ownership”

If you’ve been following the news the past few days, you’ve seen some interesting headlines involving the popular green and yellow tractor manufacturer:

 

If you haven’t seen these articles, here are a few clips to bring you up to speed:

  • In filings with the copyright office, the maker of the ubiquitous green and yellow tractor argues that because your tractor has a chip and some code in it, you don’t actually own it. You’ve just got an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” –Consumerist
  • Several manufacturers recently submitted similar comments to the Copyright Office under an inquiry into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA is a vast 1998 copyright law that (among other things) governs the blurry line between software and hardware. The Copyright Office, after reading the comments and holding a hearing, will decide in July which high-tech devices we can modify, hack, and repair—and decide whether John Deere’s twisted vision of ownership will become a reality. –Wired

 

John Deere hasn’t responded to these articles yet, although we are told they are preparing a statement.

 

So, what are your thoughts? Has John Deere gone too far? Has the media misinterpreted John Deere’s comments?

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14 Replies
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Senior Advisor

Re: “Destroying the very idea of ownership”

I leafed throught the John Deere brief linked to in one of the references.  It's pretty scary.  JD uses a lot of hyperbole to try to show why the nanny state should prevent me from modifying a tractor.

I wonder if this will add to a market demand for tractors that do not have a lot of software or do not have restrictive softwrae, or at least leave some software accessible?  It would absolutley be a factor in a purchase decision I made.

Consumers want many of the benefits provided by software in vehicles and machines, but that doesn't mean all consumers want all the software to impine on privacy and ownership.

This is likely to get bact to Congress if John Deere wins it's position.

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Advisor

Re: “Destroying the very idea of ownership”

I isn't anything that GM Ford Chrysler or any of the big truck manufacturers have done in the past 10 years.  When you buy one its "Gotcha" time.

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Highlighted
Senior Contributor

Re: “Destroying the very idea of ownership”

Do you suppose they are trying to monsantoize their products?

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Highlighted
Senior Advisor

Re: “Destroying the very idea of ownership”

Oh, I think Steve Jobs had that figured out before Monsanto did.
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Highlighted
Advisor

Your green tractor and your Siverado

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Highlighted
Frequent Contributor

Re: Your green tractor and your Siverado

Scary isn't it? This sort of thing is spreading fast too.  Smiley Sad

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Your green tractor and your Siverado

I kinda like having a 37 year old green tractor thats actually mine. Most of the guys using brand new tractors are leasing them anyways, at least "around here".

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Advisor

Re: Your green tractor and your Siverado

Personally, I think if the manufacturers copyright their stuff and forbid anyone else the ability to work on their product that it is their choice to do so.  Therefore they retain ownership of the "stuff they make" so it makes sense to me if they own it then they should fix or repair their stuff on their own dime.  I can't believe someone hasn't taken a manufacturer to court over this.

 

Class Action Anyone?

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Highlighted
Veteran Contributor

Re: “Destroying the very idea of ownership”

Here's another side to the story: http://www.janzenaglaw.com/2015/04/john-deere-does-not-own-your-tractor.html.

 

This blogger asks a good question at the end: Should ag equipment manufacturers be allowed to sell you a tractor but only license you the tractor’s software?  

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