Sunday October 25, 2015

Why can't I fix my tractor?

"Doing some fall field work #plant16 " tweets Saskatchewan farmer Chris Herrnbock.

"Doing some fall field work #plant16 " tweets Saskatchewan farmer Chris Herrnbock. (Chris Herrnbock)

Listen 9:22

Down on the farm, there's a controversy brewing, because farm equipment manufacturer John Deere doesn't want farmers tinkering with the software on the farmers' own tractors. Spark contributor Sean Prpick talks to Saskatchewan farmer Chris Herrnbock, who wants to see a more flexible and farmer-friendly policy rather than a copyright crackdown.

Update 28 October 2015: This week, the US Copyright Office issued an exemption that makes it legal to diagnose, repair and "lawfully" modify vehicles, including tractors. The exemption begins a year from now. No word yet on what this means in Canada. Thanks to Spark listener David Kucher who pointed us to this helpful iFixit article explaining the changes.