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MEMA Supports Renewing Copyrighted Software Exemptions

The current exemptions allow greater access to vehicle software by independent repair providers.

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On behalf of its two divisions, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing divisions, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) reiterated its support under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to renew current exemptions that allow greater access to vehicle software for diagnostic and repair services by independent repair providers. 

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MEMA’s comments were in response to the U.S. Copyright Office initiation of the first phase of its eighth triennial review proceeding under the DMCA. Renewed exemptions will enable diagnostic tool providers and repair professionals to access software and other copyrighted information that is necessary to diagnose and repair vehicles without compromising the intellectual property found on vehicles.

Prior to 2018, the repair exemption for vehicle software had only applied to vehicle owners. During the previous, seventh triennial review, MEMA was successful in getting the Copyright Office to expand the vehicle repair exemption to allow for third-party providers to service vehicles on behalf of owners. 

“AASA’s priority is ensuring access to appropriate vehicle data for both consumers and repair shops. Getting the exemption expanded was a critical victory for the aftermarket, and renewing it is necessary to defend consumer’s choice on where and with what parts our vehicles can be repaired and maintained,” commented Paul McCarthy, president of AASA. “This is only one piece of the puzzle but an important step in the fight to protect market competition and consumers.”

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MEMA has worked closely on this issue with other aftermarket stakeholders like the Auto Care Association and Specialty Equipment Marketing Association, who also support retaining the repair exemptions. 

In addition to comments on the diagnostic and repair exemption, MEMA submitted a petition that supports renewing the existing exemption of access to software for the purposes of “good faith security research.” The research, development and validation are critical aspects of continuous creation, refinement and implementation of technologies – particularly when it comes to safety and security.

If renewed, the exemptions would remain in force for an additional three-year period of October 2021 – October 2024. 

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