Ag Attorney: Sorry Right to Repair Advocates, But You’re on the Wrong Side of History

(via AgLaw.us)

This recent article on Motherboard is getting a lot of press: “Why American Farmers are Hacking Their Tractors with Ukrainian Firmware”, writes AgLaw.us blog author and well-known ag attorney Todd Janzen in a recent blog post.

The article alleges that John Deere requires farmers to sign a license agreement that forbids farmers from repairing their equipment (without a John Deere technician), and as a result, farmers are reprogramming their machines to run on bootlegged firmware.

I understand the issue. John Deere’s license agreement prohibits new tractor owners from tampering with the “Security Measures” on embedded software. Right to Repair advocates want the ability to modify this software to perform repairs and modify their machines. After all, farmers own their tractors, shouldn’t they be allowed to edit or replace their software?

But this argument misses one key fact: A John Deere tractor is slowly becoming more of a software device than a hardware device. As the software component of a new tractor becomes more important than the hardware, the desire to repair will decrease to the point that very few people will care.

Head on over to AgLaw.us to read Janzen’s full opinion on Right to Repair.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “Ag Attorney: Sorry Right to Repair Advocates, But You’re on the Wrong Side of History

  1. don’t need a computer run tractor to farm. the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s tractors still do a great job at 100 plus horse power.

  2. Matthew, do you have a farming background? If so, are the walls in your shop or sheds covered with John Deere memorabilia—implying your family and you have a bias toward John Deere? Do you have any personal legal training in copyright law? What makes you think you’re qualified to tell a large and growing number of farmers they don’t have a legal right to understand, tinker with, or repair products they own?

    Are you and the folks at Precision Ag drinking green Koolaid? How much advertising does John Deere pay for in PrecisionAg and CropLife on a monthly or annual basis? Is your sales team giving you any feedback that John Deere is unhappy about articles that highlight their anti-farmer/-tinkerer policies? Is John Deere threatening to reduce their advertising budget if you don’t say what they want you to? Why do you think John Deere is unhappy? Why do you think they’re threatened? If they have no anti-farmer intentions, why are they so defensive?

    You see, I think asking questions is a better place to start that just stating, “You’re Wrong!” You’re starting with presuppositions. A true journalist would put those aside and dig deep, ask questions, capture opposing views from reputable and opinionated sources. They’d wrestle with hard questions, facts, and opinions before publishing their own account of the situation. They wouldn’t just say, “You’re wrong” and give zero supporting information for a fluff statement like that.

    Are you afraid to dig deep? Are you afraid to ruffle feathers? Do you honestly think you’ve exhaustively explored what’s happening behind the scenes? Do you think deeper exploration of the issues and careful consideration of the long-term potential outcomes, either way, in a public forum is warrantless? That’s liberty my friend. Either you advocate for it, walk a spineless yellow line, or are against it.

  3. As an engineer for a equipment manufacturer (not Deere) and former farm kid, I find it funny people trust Ukraine hackers with their expensive complex equipment. I agree back in the day a person could easily tweak their equipment, but today’s equipment has so many interdependent systems that modifications will likely result in big problems…the amount engineering & development of these systems is intense, just randomly changing code is likely to be a receipe for problems…some of complexity has brought about improved efficiency & comfort, but a lot has to do with EPA regulations. I always thought the emissions regulations for off-road equipment made no sense for areas as wide open as Nebraska where I’m from. But if people are so worked up, consider what the on highway market did with glider kits. If I was farming, I would prefer a 7100 series magnum vs a new tractor with electronic controls.

  4. They are replacing the copyrighted Deere software with third party software? They should be able to do this, if they want to. Deere should probably consider that infuriating multi-generational customers is a really, really, really shortsighted business practice.

    If they wanted to, those John Deere ‘owners’ could form some sort of tractor software co-op, and make their own tractor firmware – ideally they would release it under the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License (google it if you want to – it’s freely available on their site) used by Linux and other software, so anybody could use it.

    Ultimately, if Deere is building things you really aren’t happy with, it might be prudent to buy something else. Deere needs to consider this, too.

Service Providers Stories
aggateway
Service ProvidersAgGateway Recognizes Leaders at 2017 Annual Conference
November 16, 2017
At its annual conference last week, AgGateway honored individuals and companies that are advancing electronic connectivity efforts in agriculture and Read More
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipment
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can Teach Us (Guest Column)
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Trending Articles
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can Teach Us (Guest Column)
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Kokoda-Trek2
Australia/New ZealandPrecision Agriculture in Papua New Guinea
November 2, 2017
I recently spent two weeks in the Central Highlands area of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the Kokoda Track. The Read More
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Latest News
DronesDrones Play Critical Role in Ohio Agricultural Research
November 17, 2017
The Springfield Beckley-Municipal Airport now has a new hangar for unmanned aircraft and precision agriculture, writes Allyson Brown on GovTech.com. Read More
Iowa-Farmer China
AsiaIowa Farm a Model for Modernizing China Agriculture
November 16, 2017
The buddy seat on Rick Kimberley’s combine-harvester is a fine vantage point from which to observe precision farming. The combine’s Read More
Field
Data ManagementThe Climate Corp., Deveron Form Drone Analytics Partner…
November 16, 2017
The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., has announced a partnership with Deveron UAS Corp., that will deliver farmers Read More
aggateway
Service ProvidersAgGateway Recognizes Leaders at 2017 Annual Conference
November 16, 2017
At its annual conference last week, AgGateway honored individuals and companies that are advancing electronic connectivity efforts in agriculture and Read More
corn field
UncategorizedTopcon Agriculture Prepares to Release Horizon 4.02
November 15, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has announced the addition of new functions including Auto Turn and Steer to Boundary applications in its upcoming Read More
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipme…
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
John-Deere-Air-Carts
Systems ManagementJohn Deere 1910 Air Carts Can Now Be Retrofitted with S…
November 14, 2017
Intelligent Agricultural Solutions, LLC (Intelligent Ag), a leader in electronics innovations for modern farming, has released Engage Zone Control, the Read More
Climate FieldView Script Creator
EuropeThe Climate Corp. Expands Global Digital Agriculture Pl…
November 14, 2017
The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., has announced at Agritechnica, the world’s leading trade fair for agricultural machinery, Read More
Soybean-Field-Photo-Barbara-Eckstein
Data ManagementWeather Forecasting: How Does It Work, and How Reliable…
November 14, 2017
Do you ever wonder exactly how the weather forecast is made? And how good are they, really? In last month’s Read More
Topcon_TAP
Decision Support SoftwareTopcon Agriculture Introduces New Connected Agricultura…
November 13, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has introduced TAP, the Topcon Agriculture Platform, a cloud-based agricultural ecosystem designed to provide real-time monitoring and data Read More
Topcon A6
Systems ManagementTopcon Agriculture Adds ISOBUS Communication to Opus Co…
November 13, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has added industry-leading ISOBUS universal terminal and task controller functionality to the Opus A6 and A8 consoles. The Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Transfer Proof of Concept Shows Promise
November 10, 2017
We talk about closed-loop systems quite a bit in modern production agriculture. Having a closed-loop, or completely self-contained, system is Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can…
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Farmers Business Network, FBN Procurement
Industry NewsFarmers Business Network Details Updated FBN Direct Sho…
November 8, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. is modernizing the way farmers shop with a new e-commerce platform designed and engineered exclusively for Read More
Excellence AwardsNominations Open For 2018 PrecisionAg Awards Of Excelle…
November 8, 2017
The PrecisionAg Award of Excellence program sheds light on some of the most important people and programs that have helped agriculture realize the full benefits of technology to improve agronomy, efficiency, and stewardship in crop production. Read More
Data ManagementDJI Announces FlightHub Drone Operations Management Pla…
November 7, 2017
DJI showcased new hardware and software advancements that make it easier for businesses across multiple industries to incorporate drones into Read More
Deere-Combine
Data ManagementTech’s Perspective: Closeout to #Harvest2017
November 7, 2017
As the harvest season comes to a close, a quick look at Twitter gives us some insights into how things Read More