Car owners and security experts can tinker with automobile software without incurring some U.S. copyright liability, according to new guidelines issued this month that had been opposed by the auto industry.
The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, agreed with fair use advocates who argued that vehicle owners are entitled to modify their cars, which often involves altering software.
Automakers including General Motors, and other vehicle manufacturers such as Deere & Co., opposed the rules. They said vehicle owners could visit authorized repair shops for changes they may need to undertake.
However, U.S. copyright officials decided that altering computer programs for vehicle repair or modification may not infringe a manufacturer's software copyright.
A GM representative referred to a statement from an industry group that said the new rules would weaken safety innovation.