More on the desperate farmers jailbreaking their tractors' DRM to bring in the harvest


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/10/tenant-farmers.html


#2

It’s not that big a leap for DRM to make an epigenetic jump from the harvesting tools, to the grain itself. Imagine a DRM GMO crop, that the consumer doesnt actually ever own, but licenses for the trip through our digestive tract. Growing ones own produce wouldn’t just be unfashionable, but illegal, and with mandated gene therapies, people wouldn’t be able to successfully digest any food except what big ag allows.

There’s the setup, if any SF authors out there decide to wrap a plot around that, Im sure it could sell.


#3

I can remember when the internal combustion engine didn’t need software. That was before they… patented… thermodynamics, I guess?


#4

If it’s licensed, then it’s their responsibility to make sure it keeps the equipment functional and should be maintained at no cost to the customer. Based on how much they’re charging for farm equipment these days, that should not be a problem for them.


#5

Is it weird that every time I read about this issue I start singing “hacked tractors” to the tune of “stacked actors” by the Foo Fighters in my head?


#6

The Windup Girl - Wikipedia

Not quite your scenario, but close…


#7

DRM is coming to your car soon.


#8

I predict with self-driving cars you’ll have to pay a monthly premium if you don’t want it to automatically pull up to the McDonald’s drive thru. Or maybe they’ll limit how far you can go.


#9

Seems like a variant on this might be the way forward here.

Then you could just pull the hobbled computer and put your own in.
Win/win, DRM hasn’t been broken and you have a functional tractor…


#10

That’s nearly where they’re at now. There’s not DRM protection of GMO crops, but there is patent protection. When you buy the GMO crop seed, you sign an agreement that you will not hold back any of your harvest for next year’s seed (as has been done since the dawn of agriculture). If agents of the corporation find you to have their GMO crops growing in your field when you have not bought the seed from them, they will sue you. This can happen even if you never plant any GMO seeds, but your neighbors do and the cross-pollinate with your non-GMO crop.


#11

Already did long ago.


#12

Late stage agriculture.


#13

If agents of the corporation find you to have their GMO crops growing in your field when you have not bought the seed from them, they will sue you. This can happen even if you never plant any GMO seeds, but your neighbors do and the cross-pollinate with your non-GMO crop.

This has never actually happened - it’s right up there with alligators in the sewers.


#14

Read the case of Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser. In his case, it wasn’t wind blown cross pollination, but rather patented seed flying off passing trucks and ending up on the edges of / and contaminating his crops. And then Monsanto trying to claim the next years crops grown from his saved seed.


#15

I know the case, and I find Monsanto’s position far more plausible:


#16

And I find that it was a complicated situation with lead to a 5-4 ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada with limited victories on both sides, but if you want to, you can buy into the Monsanto side only, and promote their website as the source.

I will suggest this for anyone really interested: https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2004/2004scc34/2004scc34.html


#17

Yet your original post presented Schmeiser’s position as fact, not as mere allegation. Which was why I presented Monsanto’s position in rebuttal.

Now you are walking that back, so I suppose that’s progress. I agree that one should read the actual case law, and I appreciate your link.


#18

What happens if you yank the modules with the proprietary licensed John Deere software, and replace them with ones running “OpenDuur” software?

(OpenDuur would, of course, have to be developed clean room style in the face of the inevitable lawsuits.)


#19

they used to say you don’t buy beer, you rent it.


#20

But if a farmer never bought the seeds from them, that farmer wouldn’t be a party to the contract, so how could they sue for this? What would be the basis for their claim?

Not trying to be aggressive or dismissive of your post, just want to know :slight_smile: