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Enrolled in Auto Mechanic Training? Here’s Why Copyright Laws May Halt Home Car Repairs

Published on October 27, 2016 by in Blog, CATI
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Copyright laws could make it illegal for unauthorized individuals to work on cars

Car hobbyists everywhere may need to find a new passion to pursue. Automotive lovers have been repairing, tinkering with, and modifying their cars for years. However, the Auto Alliance, a group of carmakers including BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Mazda, and more, are moving to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to make working on a car’s computer systems illegal without proper authorization.

Car technology has progressed impressively over the past decades. Today, computers in cars are responsible for many functions such as efficiency, fuel economy, and safety features. All these features are made possible by a complex set of codes that make the car function the way the manufacturer intended. Now those manufacturers want to stop car owners from taking matters into their own hands by altering their vehicle’s original settings.

These proposed laws could dramatically change the automobile industry and how people work on their cars. Read on to discover why this is happening and what it could mean for the automotive industry.

Students in Auto Mechanic Training Know a Modern Car’s Functions Rely on Computers

Professionals with auto mechanic training know that a car’s software plays an important role in its functionality. To put into perspective the degree to which computers impact a vehicle’s performance, Richard Wallace, of the Center for Automotive Research, has stated that “Already some people will tell you that a modern vehicle is like a computer on wheels”.

To protect this software, the Auto Alliance wants the DMCA to recognize that if someone changes the coding within a car’s system, it is a copyright infringement. This would make it completely illegal for unauthorized people to work on anything that changes a car’s coding, potentially meaning the end of home repairs for at home hobbyists.

Grads of Auto Mechanic Training May Work in Licensed Dealerships

The impact that these proposed copyright laws could have on the car industry is still up for speculation. However, critics believe that by stopping private mechanics or home hobbyists from working on cars, manufactures may make it difficult for independent repair shops to operate. Instead, they argue, car repairs would only be allowed to take place in licensed dealerships or other authorised shops.

If you’re becoming a mechanic and these copyright laws come into effect, this could mean that your auto repair career might take place in a dealership instead of an independent shop.

Auto Mechanics and Hobbyists Should Know Safety Concerns Are Part of the Debate

A statement from Auto Alliance has made it clear that part of the reason carmakers are pushing for copyright laws is because of safety concerns. As the Auto Alliance states, “Allowing vehicle owners to add and remove programs at whim is highly likely to take vehicles out of compliance with [safety] requirements, rendering the operation or re-sale of the vehicle legally problematic.” By only allowing software changes to take place under the watchful eye of a trained professional, they argue, software safety concerns wouldn’t be a problem.

Some experts say that these safety issues could be addressed in other ways. For example, they mention that some crucial software could be blocked from changes, while other coding could still be altered by a car’s owner. Whether car makers opt for these measures, or decide to enforce copyright laws still remains to be seen.

Do you love cars? Are you thinking of attending mechanic school in Toronto or Cambridge?

Visit CATI for more information or to speak with an advisor!

 
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