The Auto Care Association has submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding its study into the application of copyright law to embedded software in vehicles.
While the Auto Care Association said it appreciates granting limited exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for purposes of vehicle repair, the association told the Copyright Office that, “broader relief is necessary to address the needs of consumers and aftermarket competition.”
The association cited the fact that vehicle manufacturers are adopting technological protection measures that prevent service facilities and consumers from accessing the software, not to protect the copyright but to thwart competition. “In some cases, the measures do not protect the software itself; in others, the measure protects against replacement of the software rather than access to it,” according to the comments.
Among the actions that the association requested was that the Copyright Office make a determination that DMCA does not prohibit circumvention of technological measures that prevent lawful repair under patent law of products whose operation is controlled by embedded software. Also citing the fact that the Copyright Office had only granted an exemption to consumers from circumventing software, the association called for the office to, “extend exemptions to entities that perform the exemption activity on behalf of others, where the activity itself requires specialized skills or professional equipment to avoid damaging the copyrighted work or the product in which it is embedded.”
The association further asked that the exemptions granted for purposes of repair be made permanent such that the burden for removing an exemption would fall on the entity seeking to remove the exemption already granted by the Copyright Office.