Could Vehicle Restoration Soon Be Copyright Infringement?

Could Vehicle Restoration Soon Be Copyright Infringement?


The U.S. Copyright Office is currently examining whether provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was designed to protect intellectual property, should be applied to new automotive technology. Doing so could prohibit auto owners from modifying, tuning and preforming vehicle restoration on newer cars. Reports recently revealed that the Auto Alliance is relentlessly seeking these changes. For those unfamiliar with the Auto Alliance, the group is comprised of 12 of the top vehicle producers in the world serving as the auto industry’s leading interest and advocacy group. Auto makers are hoping that provisions in the copyright law that will soon prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

According to reports, auto makers believe that modern vehicles have become too technologically advanced and complex for consumers and untrained third party mechanics to handle. In a statement filed to by the Auto Alliance, the group claims that allowing individual auto owners and non-company based mechanics to continue to fix their vehicles has become “legally problematic,” and could affect the safety of drivers and vehicles.

Is this the end of DIY vehicle restoration and upgrading for future generation?

Not just yet. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for individual rights in digital matters, is fighting to ensure that enthusiasts can continue working on their vehicles by providing exemptions that would give them the right to access necessary car components. Should the group succeed it could protect the future motor-heads and auto enthusiasts in their do-it-yourself pursuits for many years to come. If not, it could lead to an even more heightened interest in restoring classic, vintage and antique vehicles.

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