Victory! Carmakers Can't Use The DMCA To Make Working On Your Car Illegal

Illustration for article titled Victory! Carmakers Can't Use The DMCA To Make Working On Your Car Illegal

Possibly the most bizarre application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act finally got the exemption us car enthusiasts have deserved.


Recently some automakers (with support from the EPA of all places) tried to argue that they own the code in your car, and messing with that code would violate their copyright.

The government just struck that down!

Well, they offered an exemption. As the Library of Congress’ U.S. Copyright Office ruled this morning, “reproducing and altering the computer programs on ECUs forpurposes of facilitating diagnosis, repair and modification of vehicles” is totally cool.

Specifically, the Copyright Office said such copies and mods constitutes “noninfringing activity as a matter of fair use and/or under the exception set forth insection 117 of the Copyright Act, which permits the owner of a copy of a computerprogram to make certain copies and adaptations of the program.”

As AutoBlog reports, this exemption will actually take a year to go into effect, and it will once again go up for debate in three years. So uh, get a head start planning how you’re going to tweak the acceleration tuning on your GoogleCar today.


The full text of the LoC’s ruling can be found right here, and the victory statement from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which made the petition to give gearheads the right to tune their cars without carmakers bearing down on them, can be found right here.


Photo Credit: Jason Torchinsky

Contact the author at



What is this software you speak of? Perhaps it's buried und all those EPA mandated vaccum hoses?