ACA Petitions U.S. Copyright Office to Exempt Repairers

Order Reprints

October 26, 2018—Based on a petition jointly filed by the Auto Care Association and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the U.S. Copyright Office on Oct. 26 eliminated a limitation that only permitted car owners to circumvent vehicle software under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The final rule issued under the current DMCA’s seventh triennial rulemaking proceeding effectively permits third-party repairers to also access software on personal, commercial and agricultural vehicles that are legitimately owned.

The petition from the Auto Care Association and CTA was necessary due to the U.S. Copyright Office’s ruling in 2015 that limited the exemption from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention prohibition to the actual owner of the vehicle. The Auto Care Association had argued during the current rulemaking for the expansion of the anti-circumvention exemption to include third parties based on that fact that individual car owners often do not have the tools or skills to access software in order to perform repairs, thus limiting the effectiveness of the 2015 exemption.

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