Inside the Fight for the Right to Repair: How Tractor Hacking Was Legalized

We really don’t own our stuff anymore. Modifying and repairing modern objects requires access to information manufacturers don’t provide, from service manuals and schematics to diagnostic tools. Fixing a refrigerator can require a jailbreak, and repairing a tractor means bypassing locks and incurring the wrath of John Deere. Fortunately, things are ratcheting back open! Repair advocates convinced the Copyright Office to exempt repairs and security research on tractors, despite Deere claiming that farmers would abuse them by torrenting Taylor Swift on their tractors.

Kyle, as a pioneer of the Right to Repair movement, will give an update on pending legislation around the world, the prognosis of legal and technical fixes to restore our right to tinker, and will share how activists accidentally took out the Copyright Office’s email servers. The next every-three-year DMCA exemption round for bypassing digital locks starts this fall, and this talk will invite brainstorming on which exemptions we should apply for to the notoriously evil section 1201.

If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.