GM says you don't own your car, you just license it

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Modern cars can, in fact, run without their code.
There are numerous solutions to “Stand Alone” ECU’s that are used in high performance automobiles, and nearly any car can (with sufficient effort) be converted to run on one of those.
That doesn’t say much to running the accessories, though, and I’d imagine most people would be grumpy if the seat heaters or bluetooth in their cars stopped working.

It’s not like I was ever likely to buy a GM anyway…


Aren’t there giant stacks of case law related to 3rd-party parts and repairs of automobiles being specifically OK?

Also, although I haven’t read the article, wouldn’t asserting that cars aren’t owned but rather licensed make more than a few enormous lending institutions that hold notes on millions of cars more than a little grumpy?


Not that I’ve ever purchased a GM car, but I won’t be starting now…


Thanks Mary, and the beat goes on.

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So if someone came up with open source hardware/software for cars then could that be a solution? Or would the car makers say that you can’t modify the car?


This ruling would lead to us almost owning nothing that we currently own. If this argument is valid, then anything with software would no longer be ours. TVs, Xbox, computer, phone, blu ray player, Electronic scale…the list would be huge, probably advanced appliances. This would be a consumer and economic nightmare, if not a destruction of our whole economy.


It simply isn’t true that one needs their firmware to run the car. It’s like any other computer - sure, it needs firmware, but it doesn’t need specific firmware. Erasing GMs code should not be in violation of their copyright.


The problem being that GM and John Deere have voices far louder than that of voters, GM especially being a too-big-to-fail.


Are they putting it in the fine print and you just clicked “AGREE” just like Apple product?

goes with my no more New cars for me plan.

Wait until the gov and big oil decide the taxpayers dont pay for the road they use.


Another interesting thing is how these arguments affect the used car (or tractor) market. The contract when “buying” it new might say that the user needs to rely upon GM, but what if/when they sell the machine to another person? The next buyer doesn’t seem to have any such formality to deal with.


But that’s already the case. Game consoles, software, phones, etc right now are things consumers don’t really outright own.


What a fucking contemptuously mundane dystopia this is turning out to be.


Makes ‘Have you driven a Ford lately?’ a much more powerful advertising slogan …


Your tl;dr version was too long; didn’t read…


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If you don’t own the vehicle in the first place do you even have the right to sell it to a third party? I can easily seem them wanting to control the used market for their vehicles.


Besides solutions like MegaSquirt and AEM and whatever else, there’s bound to be a car equivalent to the MagicLantern project with Canon cameras.


I think GM might want to have a discussion with the folks at Keurig. I can imagine GM customers might not like the idea that they can’t use off brand parts just as much as the Keurig customers. Keurig customers had other choices for making coffee and GM customers have other options for buying cars.


If I don’t own the car that means I can return it to the dealer and stop paying for it whenever I want, right?


The scary part is when you consider taking it further, based on their logic.

How many things today will not run without software of some kind? Computers, obviously, and our smart phones, tablets, e-readers. And even those little things we currently use. How many sprinkler systems use software to schedule when to run? How about those things that people include in that “Internet of things”? Televisions, refrigerators, radios, clocks, washers & dryers.

I hope that GM and John Deere lose because otherwise we will no longer be owners but merely licensees.