Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

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    Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    Another election in Massachusetts brings another round of ballot questions. A few nights ago, I got a phone call regarding the Right to Repair question scheduled to appear on our state ballot.
    The Right to Repair bill basically requires auto manufacturers to provide the code information to independent auto repair facilities that would allow them to be able to diagnose engine problems ( the dreaded check engine light) and provide repairs.
    I am all for this if only for the fact that I believe in consumer choice. I think once I purchase a vehicle..and the warranty is up..I should be able to choose who I want to repair my vehicle and not be forced to take it to a dealer.

    What are some of the pros and cons?
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    What I want is an EMP kill device on my car computer. I want the ability to wipe my car computer to prevent it from being used in court against me. These computers hold a lot of data now. I bought the darn thing with the car and I do not want its data used to screw me in a court. Just me. BTW I have a no accident history for 28 years. I just don't like the idea of my own property being used by police/insurance against me.
     Right to repair means give up the code for stuff that an average good mechanic can figure out on his own and write a book about or a blog. This means that the stuff you find out about the codes can be public info even if you had a contract with a code provider that prevents you from saying in a blog what the answer to a problem is. It also lets folk back into the ability to fix simple stuff like a bad switch or thermal sensor. If you want to. If not pay a local shop to do it, or even a dealer. This makes it your choice. You already OWN the car why don't you get a decent repair manual with it at thehigh cost of cars these days.
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    In Response to Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair:
    [QUOTE]Another election in Massachusetts brings another round of ballot questions. A few nights ago, I got a phone call regarding the Right to Repair question scheduled to appear on our state ballot. The Right to Repair bill basically requires auto manufacturers to provide the code information to independent auto repair facilities that would allow them to be able to diagnose engine problems ( the dreaded check engine light) and provide repairs. I am all for this if only for the fact that I believe in consumer choice. I think once I purchase a vehicle..and the warranty is up..I should be able to choose who I want to repair my vehicle and not be forced to take it to a dealer. What are some of the pros and cons?
    Posted by miscricket[/QUOTE]

    I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people (including myself) see it the same way you do.  

    But realistically, there isn't anything that prevents you from taking your car wherever you want for repairs at any time.  Without the codes, it'll take another garage longer to find the problems but they can still find them and do the repairs. 

    On the other side of it, if someone develops software (which the diagnostic codes are a part of)  Should they have the right to retain their intellectual property?  If you developed a cure for cancer, should the State be able to force you to give the formula for the cure away so your competitors can make a profit on it at your expense?

    As I said, I'm in favor of independent garages having access to the codes.  At the same time I also see that this proposal is a State sanctioned taking of someone's property to give it to someone else so they can make money. Morally, it's an imperfect solution.

     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    Like the music industry and the computer industry, these folks just have to let go. The code is availible. It is cheap and easy to get. It is quasi illegal to purchase. The computer industry learned early on that copying and reverse coding is trivial. IBM lost a major suit in the 80's since people "black boxed" the bios code that they wanted to protect. This is identical. No one yet has leagally black boxed these systems but it is trivial to do. Take a device and with no knowledge of the actual code reconstruct what input causes what action and record it. Borland also lost a major lawsuit when microsoft removed the copyright notices from .dll files(compiled from Borland source code) for windows 3.1. Those said copyright Borland all rights reserved. When Borland tried to use its own code to write software for the windows platform written with Borland copyrighted software they lost. Copyright in the software world is tenuous at best. In the car computer hardware world it is nearly pointless.
    But it does provide a living for a few lawyers.
    Why not just open the book. It is out there already. Leagal positioning will not stop it. It is not that hard to workout. All this does is prevent good people from doing the work with the best tools leagally.
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    In Response to Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair:
    [QUOTE]I see no cons.  Dealerships rape you.
    Posted by GreginMeffa[/QUOTE]
    As do the indy's now. The indy's (most I have seen) are lining up with the dealerships on the per job charge. If the manufacturer says a brake job should take 3 hours, the shops charge 3 hours of labor even if the job only took 2. I agree with the bill but find the argument by the small shops to be some what 2 faced. "We are fighting the big boys to protect you, but are with the big boys to rip you off".
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    Okay..that actually makes sense that the codes are already available somewhat. The only time I ever take my car to the dealership is if there is a recall for something. Other than that, I take it to an independent shop..the same one I have been using for over almost 20 years. I agree there are some shops that rip you off..but in the overall scheme of things..I think the dealerships charge much more money.
    When I buy a car, to me, I am buying the intellectual property that went into making the car. To me, I shouldn't be forced to take it someplace that will charge more money for repairs.
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    In Response to Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair:
    [QUOTE]Like the music industry and the computer industry, these folks just have to let go. The code is availible. It is cheap and easy to get. It is quasi illegal to purchase. The computer industry learned early on that copying and reverse coding is trivial. IBM lost a major suit in the 80's since people "black boxed" the bios code that they wanted to protect. This is identical. No one yet has leagally black boxed these systems but it is trivial to do. Take a device and with no knowledge of the actual code reconstruct what input causes what action and record it. Borland also lost a major lawsuit when microsoft removed the copyright notices from .dll files(compiled from Borland source code) for windows 3.1. Those said copyright Borland all rights reserved. When Borland tried to use its own code to write software for the windows platform written with Borland copyrighted software they lost. Copyright in the software world is tenuous at best. In the car computer hardware world it is nearly pointless. But it does provide a living for a few lawyers. Why not just open the book. It is out there already. Leagal positioning will not stop it. It is not that hard to workout. All this does is prevent good people from doing the work with the best tools leagally.
    Posted by topaz978[/QUOTE]

    You might want to review history a bit. IBM didn't lose their case. They won and put 7 PC manufacturers (Eagle, Corona, etc...) out of business.  And the Borland case was transferred to Novell when Novell bought Borland.  They continued the case and eventually the applications were bought by Caldera who continued the case and won a half-billion dollar judgement against Microsoft.  And there are tens of thousands of other cases where the Courts have upheld IP rights.

    And if it's so trivial to black box these automotive systems then why isn't anyone doing it? It should (according to your view) be significantly cheaper than fighting to create new laws and fight things out in the courts.
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    In Response to Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair:
    [QUOTE]Okay..that actually makes sense that the codes are already available somewhat. The only time I ever take my car to the dealership is if there is a recall for something. Other than that, I take it to an independent shop..the same one I have been using for over almost 20 years. I agree there are some shops that rip you off..but in the overall scheme of things..I think the dealerships charge much more money. When I buy a car, to me, I am buying the intellectual property that went into making the car. To me, I shouldn't be forced to take it someplace that will charge more money for repairs.
    Posted by miscricket[/QUOTE]

    To begin with, you don't buy the IP when you buy a car.  You buy the right to USE that IP.  And what you buy isn't significant to what your local garage has the right to use. 

    But let's be clear about what this law will and won't affect.  The diagnostic codes for repairs that affect the normal functioning and routine maintenance of your car are available already.  The codes that the Right to Repair sponsors are fighting for are for ancillary systems. For exanple, if your car happens to have  an automated tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) the odds are very high that that system can only be reset at a dealer.  But a warning light on your dashboard that your TPMS is having a problem doesn't mean you have a defective tire or that the car is unsafe in any way.

    I also find it a bit suspect that the Right to Repair Coalition isn't interested in getting YOU access to the codes.  They couldn't care less if you could save money by working on your own car. They only want access for themselves so they can make money off of you. Morally, they aren't in any better position than the dealerships are. You, the end consumer, still won't have access to the codes.

    Look at the overall presentation. Who makes money if this bill passes? The Right to Repair Coalition claims that independent shops will benefit. What they don't say is how all of this information is going to get collected and disseminated to those shops. Their answer is, of course, that they will collect it and sell it to the independent shops. The bill they are sponsoring has the direct effect of creating a business for themselves.  I'm not a fan of people that use/abuse the power of government to force one business to lose money so they can make money for themselves.
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    Jim
    Actually IBM lost the machine Micro code suit. What we call bios. The companies like Award and Ami are(previous others) allowed to produce the startup code. Not the os. Just the basic startup of what am I and where is my os code.
    Also when you buy a car it is not like buying a computer. You do not renew a license to operate the computer code and you do NOT SIGN OR RECIEVE AN AGREEMENT THAT THE CODE IS OWNED BY THE CAR COMPANY. This is a required statement for IP property which is not used in the car industry, JUST AN FYI.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Did they read rather than blather?

    Contrary to what has been claimed here, owners of vehicles would have the same rights to purchase diagnostic tools as repair shops under "Right to Repair."
     
    The initiative petition is actually quite readable. It is available from the state Attorney General's Web site. It is similar but not identical to a bill in the current legislative session, H. 2654, filed by Rep. James J. O'Day of West Boylston.

    [ petition at at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-14.pdf ]
    [ H.2654 at http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H02654 ]

    The key provision is in Section 2: "Each manufacturer shall make available for purchase by owners and independent repair facilities all diagnostic repair tools incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities that the manufacturer makes available to its dealers and authorized motor vehicle repair facilities."
     
    The proposed law goes on to require pricing and terms at "fair market value" and to require availability of all features of a "diagnostic and repair information system" except for resetting an "immobilizer system" that deters vehicle theft.

     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    In Response to Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair:
    [QUOTE]Jim Actually IBM lost the machine Micro code suit. What we call bios. The companies like Award and Ami are(previous others) allowed to produce the startup code. Not the os. Just the basic startup of what am I and where is my os code.[/QUOTE]

    Not even close.   COMPAQ Computer and Phoenix Technologies both independently developed the first IBM compatible BIOS systems.  Neither was ever sued by IBM because they went so far out of their way to ensure their code was "clean" that there was nothing for IBM to sue them for.  There are numerous WWW sites dedicated to how this was done.  Since there was no lawsuit, there was no suit there for IBM to lose.  IBM did sue several other companies for violating thier IP rights and won.  Those companies all promptly went out of business.  Award and AMI are 3rd/4th generation BIOS producers who followed the lead from COMPAQ and Phoenix and they've never been sued by IBM for their BIOSs.

    [QUOTE]Also when you buy a car it is not like buying a computer. You do not renew a license to operate the computer code and you do NOT SIGN OR RECIEVE AN AGREEMENT THAT THE CODE IS OWNED BY THE CAR COMPANY. This is a required statement for IP property which is not used in the car industry, JUST AN FYI.
    Posted by topaz978[/QUOTE]

    Guess again.  Licensing isn't a method of protecting IP nor does one need to issue a license for the IP to remain protected.  The OBD systems themselves are patented (and the software within is protected via copywrite) and the companies that own those patents/copywrites claim the meaning of the result codes produced by them are Trade Secrets (whether they actually are or not is another story...).  All three of those are recognized by courts in every State as valid means of protecting one's IP.

    But this isn't really about what is *in* your car.  Anyone can put an ODB scanner on their car and get a list of result codes. Hey, you got an error "297"!  Good for you!  Finding out what those result codes actually mean is another story.  For that you have to go back to the manufacturer.  And for the manufacturer to grant you (after paying a hefty fee) access to the meanings of those result codes one of the very first things you'll run into is a big fat EULA.

    And THAT is exactly what the Right to Repair laws are about. The independent shops don't want to have to comply with a EULA.  They want the State's to force the manufacturers into giving up the dictionary of what those result codes mean by, in effect, allowing the State to determine the value of the auto maker's IP.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    A "reader" who didn't read

    Reader "Jim-in-Littleton" didn't read.

    Read the bill. [ at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-14.pdf ]

    The sponsors of the "Right to Repair" initiative petition propose that owners of automobiles and operators of repair shops have access to the tools that the dealerships have, on comparable terms and at fair market value.

    Only a few owners are likely to have the interest or skills to take advantage of the Massachusetts law, but for the more widely sold vehicles, some of the independent repair shops may to find that a fair price for using the tools was compensated by added service margins.

    Read the bill, "Jim-in-Littleton."
     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair


    Quote from JIMIN LITTELTON"Not even close.   COMPAQ Computer and Phoenix Technologies both independently developed the first IBM compatible BIOS systems.  Neither was ever sued by IBM because they went so far out of their way to ensure their code was "clean" that there was nothing for IBM to sue them for.  There are numerous WWW sites dedicated to how this was done.  Since there was no lawsuit, there was no suit there for IBM to lose.  IBM did sue several other companies for violating thier IP rights and won.  Those companies all promptly went out of business.  Award and AMI are 3rd/4th generation BIOS producers who followed the lead from COMPAQ and Phoenix and they've never been sued by IBM for their BIOSs."

    See my previous post about code "black boxing" and the attempt by the car industry to stiffle the same by mechanics. You are wrong about the IBM suit, all of the mentioned companies were served with notice at the time. The case was lost based on a no merit finding. But It was a case for lawsuit. This judgement defined the boundaries of "black box" in the early days. You should really research better. I just lived through the time so it just sprang to mind. As to "those companies never been sued by IBM". As the owners of the predesessor companies you are right and wrong at the same time.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Speculation?

    Concerns voiced by readers "topaz978" and "Jim-in-Littleton" are speculations into the far future, as seen with a look at the initiative being presented to Massachusetts voters. [ from the Attorney General's Office at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-14.pdf ]

    It would probably take 10 to 15 years before a Massachusetts law had significant effects on repair shops. The same is likely for bills pending in the state legislatures of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania. [ Right to Repair, in Issue Book, Motor Vehicle Equipment Manufacturers Association, 2012, p. 56 of 72, at http://www.mema.org/Document-Vault/PDFs/2012/FINAL-2012-Issue-Book.pdf ]

    Unlike H.R. 1449, a federal bill filed last year which specifies regulation by the Federal Trade Commission, the Massachusetts initiative does not specify regulation by any state agency. All disputes must be settled through lawsuits, and there will be plenty of issues.

    Automotive dealers, vehicle manufacturers, independent repair shops and their trade associations are likely parties. Federal actions may claim taking without just compensation or denial of due process. State actions may seek equitable pricing and terms. Such lawsuits often take three to six years to resolve, and they are likely to occur in cascade, not in parallel.

     
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    Re: Ballot Question for 2012- Right to Repair

    Appdev,
    The issue is not the ultimate settlement. The issue is Rights. While companies may sue in federal court they may not be able to restrict trade in information within the state. Once that box is opened it is more difficult to assert even in federal cases. The issue is once a person knows the information how do you prevent an individual from spreading it. Hard to define given the 1st amendment, and the comerce clause only effects interstate transfer. Intellectual property is a difficult beast to cage. Particularly when you can get it over the internet anyway. The state law simply would complicate the assertion of exclusivity. As to issues in cascade, the judges usually catch the drift after the first one or two filings and insist on a class settlement. You should know that.
     
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    More speculation

    A reader sometimes found annoyed over perceived slights "for no reason" seems to think "rights" matter, whether or not there is an effective way to use them. There's no practical way to object, since it's a religious assertion. When you subscribe to certain beliefs, then predestination also matters, even though you might not be able to find out your destination before arriving.

    There are quite a few "rights" involving information that have proven cantankerous to use and have generated great volumes of litigation, for example, a "right" to know about sex offenders in the community and a "right" to find out sources of credit-rating information. A "right" to access information useful in car repair probably doesn't rise to such significance but could easily develop a similar torrent of lawsuits.

    There are also many situations when a right to use information does not carry a right to circulate it, such as trade secrets, disclosures to legal counsel, works under copyright and confessions in the Church. Such situations are also prolific generators of lawsuits.

    The 1980s IBM dispute involving a microcomputer BIOS has been mentioned here, but that was a fairly simple situation compared with the 1970s disputes over IBM I/O-channel and IBM and DEC disk-drive interfaces. Those disputes took more than 10 years to resolve, in cascades of federal and state lawsuits.

     

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