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MEMA Leads Call for Greater Freedom for Consumer Choice in Auto Repair

Date: March 15, 2018

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and two of its divisions, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing, have again requested exemptions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would protect consumer choice in both automotive replacement components and service. The exemption MEMA, AASA and MERA requests would allow independent repair facilities to access and service vehicle software on behalf of consumers.
As it did during the sixth triennial review of the DMCA, MEMA asserts that the U.S. Copyright Office can issue a narrowly-tailored exemption for vehicle diagnosis, repair, or modification that better communicates the intent of the current vehicle repair exemption while remaining faithful to existing law.
“This is an important issue for MEMA, AASA and MERA, striking at the heart of consumers’ freedom to choose where their vehicles are maintained and how they are repaired,” noted Bill Long, AASA president and COO and executive vice president, government affairs, MEMA. “We will continue to work with the U.S. Copyright Office to ensure that the voice of automotive aftermarket suppliers is heard on this issue.”

 In the comments, MEMA argued that striking a balanced exemption would preserve consumers’ right to choose their automotive repair service provider: “MEMA is confident that the Copyright Office can once again strike an appropriate balance between the rights of vehicle owners and the rights of intellectual property owners. One way to do so would be to define exemption beneficiaries less restrictively, while retaining the other restrictions in the existing exemption for vehicle diagnosis, repair, and modification. Such an exemption would not provide a green light to companies to traffic in products designed to circumvent access and copy controls. It would merely recognize that existing law already authorizes consumers to have their vehicles repaired and serviced by vehicle repair technicians of their choosing and give them a means of doing so.”

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