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Suppliers Support Renewing Exemptions to Access Copyrighted Software for Independent Repair Providers

Date: July 28, 2020

MEMA reiterated its support to renew current exemptions that allow greater access to vehicle software for diagnostic and repair services by independent repair providers.

MEMA’s July 22 comments were in response to the U.S. Copyright Office initiation of the first phase of its eighth triennial review proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA allows for temporary exemptions to the DMCA's prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.

Prior to 2018, the repair exemption for vehicle software had only applied to vehicle owners. During the previous, seventh triennial review, MEMA was successful in getting the Copyright Office to expand the vehicle repair exemption to allow for third-party providers to service vehicles on behalf of owners.

Getting this exemption expanded was a particularly critical victory for MEMA’s divisions AASA and MERA.

The expanded exemption only applies when circumvention, including the access to programs for the control of telematics or entertainment systems, is a necessary step to allow the diagnosis, repair, or lawful modification of a “vehicle function.”

In addition to comments on the diagnostic and repair exemption, MEMA submitted a petition that supports renewing the existing exemption of access to software for the purposes of “good faith security research.” The research, development and validation are critical aspects of continuous creation, refinement, and implementation of technologies – particularly when it comes to safety and security.

If renewed during the eighth triennial review, those current exemptions would remain in force for an additional three-year period of October 2021–October 2024. For more information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office docket at https://www.copyright.gov/1201/2021/

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