May 20, 2009

Steal from owners, give to voters

Do you remember once working on your car? You know, back before the government forced cars to be computers? Back when you could set the timing and diagnose a problem based on a noise rather than a diagnostic code? Well, now Congress wants the car manufacturers to cough up the proprietary diagnostic hardware and software so owners can go where ever they want to fix.
The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must provide to the motor vehicle owner and service providers, using reasonable business means and on a non-discriminatory basis, all information to diagnose, service, maintain, or repair the motor vehicle. This information must include all information of any kind provided directly, indirectly, or wirelessly to new car dealers or any repair facility to diagnose, service, maintain, repair, activate, certify, or install any motor vehicle equipment (including replacement parts and equipment) in a motor vehicle.

The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must offer for sale to the motor vehicle owner and to all service providers on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis, any tool for the diagnosis, service, maintenance, or repair of a motor vehicle, and provide all information that enables aftermarket tool companies to manufacture tools with the same functional characteristics as those tools made available by the manufacturers to authorized dealers.

That sound so reasonable, doesn't it. If you buy a car, why shouldn't you be able to take it wherever you want to get it fixed? Well, one reason is that the information is protected and owned by the car manufacturers and Congress is trying to steal from owners and give to voters. Perhaps before passing this, Congress should rescind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act they passed in 1996. DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) protections like they are proposing here.

Cheer it on, though... next they will circumvent DRM on printer ink cartridges and make that cheaper for the voters too... who could be mad? Just because the car manufacturers and the printer manufacturers employ people at good wages doesn't mean voters shouldn't get their products as cheaply as possible. Where do you work? And why shouldn't Congress give your company's products and services away, too? After all, as this bill (The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act of 2009) states, "Owners are entitled to choose which service provider will diagnose, service, maintain, or repair [what they purchased]... and promoting competition in price and quality for the diagnosis of problems, service, maintenance... will benefit consumers."

Got that? If you buy something, you are entitled to choose where you will get it repaired and Congress will force the manufacturer to comply to your wishes.

Where do we live again?

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