Farmers have been getting screwed by a combination of DRM linked to DMCA legalisms that effectively make farmers into criminals if they modify their own farming equipment, forcing them to choose between breaking the law or paying extortionate fees to equipment manufacturers for both hardware and software fixes.
Elizabeth Warren recently announced a new broad policy agenda [medium.com] focused on helping farmers. But buried in it is something everybody here can get behind too - the right to repair:
Consolidation is choking family farms, but there’s a whole lot of other ways in which big business has rigged the rules in their favor and against family farmers. I will fight to change those rules.
For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.
That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.