Kyle Wiens of iFixit wrote an interesting article on his struggle help fix a friend's high-tech John Deere tractor.
Unfortunately, when it comes to modifying existing equipment—like Dave’s tractor—it’s that same idea of ownership that’s most contested. Dave paid for the tractor; he owns what’s tangible: the wheels, the metal chassis, the gears and pistons in the engine. But John Deere owns everything else: the programming that propels the tractor, the software that calibrates the engine, the information necessary to fix it. So, who really owns that tractor?
Even if he could, would it be legal for Dave to fix his machine? Right now, we don’t know; and that ambiguity is disturbing. So, we’re trying to find the answer. In conjunction with USC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we’ve asked for a DMCA exemption for farmers who want to modify and repair their equipment. We’ll find out if it’s legal for farmers to tinker with their own equipment when the Copyright Office reviews the latest round of exemptions.
Read the article [here] and send your message to the Copyright Office [here]. When you get to the second link, click "Storm the Gates", select "Fix my car or tractor" and fill our your info. It takes two minutes.