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Modify your car game

You know what a pain those plastic engine covers are? How they get in the way and hide your own car’s engine from you? Well, consider that black piece of molded plastic a metaphor for something much worse: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Automakers are trying to use the DMCA to say you can’t work on or modify your own car.

UPDATE: We just received a statement from the Automaker’s Alliance. It will be covered at the end of this article.

We all know that working on and tinkering with a modern car is a very different undertaking than it has been previously. It’s no longer just about putting on a new manifold and dual carbs, modern cars involve many, many computers, and working on your car usually means working with and talking to the computers embedded in the car.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with all the computers in cars, and they allow for safety, convenience, and efficiency levels in our vehicles far beyond what we’ve been able to achieve before. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be repaired or tinkered with by the owner — it just takes a new set of skills and tools. It’s not like re-jetting a carburetor was something just anyone could do, anyway — this is really no different.

Well, it is different in one very important way: because so much of how modern cars work involves computers and software code, cars can now fall under the aegis of bills like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and automakers can use this act to try and restrict what an owner can do to the car that they bought.

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