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.