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
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Companies?
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps Tool
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 acre Coverage Ceiling
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
Trending Articles
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Latest News
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 ac…
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
EventsAg Experts Discuss Big Data Challenges in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Agricultural experts at a Houston conference praised the advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and data-collecting technology used in precision Read More
Pest-Monitoring-Map
AmericasStrider, Syngenta and Trends in Digital Agriculture
September 5, 2018
I recently attended Strider Day in São Paulo, an event hosted by Brazilian agtech company Strider. The event offered two Read More
Agworld
Industry NewsAgworld Strengthens Team with Key Appointments
September 5, 2018
Agworld, a global leader in farm management software and collaborative data solutions, has announced the appointment of Mike Betts as Read More