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Farmers Turn Criminal Jailbreaking Tractors

Alton

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#1
Yep! Farmer Bill is now a criminal because he jailbroke his John Deere to get the harvest in!

More on the desperate farmers jailbreaking their tractors' DRM to bring in the harvest / Boing Boing

John Deere says that farmers don't really own their tractors -- even the ones they buy used! -- because the copyrighted software necessary to run those tractors is licensed, not sold.

They say that the fine-print on the license agreement, combined with the ban on breaking software locks in Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, means that farmers who reconfigure their tractors to recognize new parts without having them activated by technicians who charge hundreds of dollars, and take days, to travel to their farms and type in a password.

Which is why John Deere tractor owners are downloading DRM-breaking tools from Ukraine, a practice that's taken hold in Canada (where the old Conservative government rammed through Bill C-11, which mirrors the US DMCA and gives the same abusive powers to businesses as they enjoy in the US). The alternative isn't just forking over hundreds of wasted dollars to John Deere for the privilege of using their own goddamned tractors: it's the ability to harvest a crop when it is ripe, and not days later, when John Deere grudgingly permits you to do so.

Right to Repair bills are pending now in eight states, which would force companies like Deere to provide independent service centers -- and their customers -- with the tools to fix their devices and gadgets.

Modern tractors, essentially, have two keys to make the engine work. One key starts the engine. But because today's tractors are high-tech machines that can steer themselves by GPS, you also need a software key — to fix the programs that make a tractor run properly. And farmers don't get that key.

"You're paying for the metal but the electronic parts technically you don't own it. They do," says Kyle Schwarting, who plants and harvests fields in southeast Nebraska.

He previously ran auto shops fixing cars and trucks. So when he started farming, he thought he'd be a natural to do the mechanical work himself.

Even a used combine like his Deere S670 can cost $200,000 or $300,000. As he lifts the side panel on this giant green harvester, he explains that the engine is basically off limits.

"Maybe a gasket or something you can fix, but everything else is computer controlled and so if it breaks down I'm really in a bad spot," Schwarting says. He has to call the dealer.

Only dealerships have the software to make those parts work, and it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a service call. Schwarting worries about being broken down in a field, waiting for a dealer to show up with a software key. If he had that key, he could likely fix the machine himself.

Farmers Look For Ways To Circumvent Tractor Software Locks [Grant Gerlock/NPR]
 

GOLDBRIX

God,Donald Trump,most in GIM2 I Trust. OTHERS-meh
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#6
Same thing with GMO seeds. They are one use only, but some cowboys use the seeds from the crop in violation.
The GMO gimmick is the seed from the previous crop the yield becomes less.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#9
Monscam-toe has seed cops who sneak out into fields and test the dna to see which year the seed comes from because they make changes in the dna each year just to prove that farmers replanted and then they sue them and win...

They even have suckcessfully sued neighboring farmers who do not use their seed, but the wind blew their pollen into his field so he is once again sued and somehow they win.
 

Joe King

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#10
They even have suckcessfully sued neighboring farmers who do not use their seed, but the wind blew their pollen into his field so he is once again sued and somehow they win.
That's the really f'ed up part. That Monsanto can essentially release their genetics to the wind and then sue anyone whose crop inadvertently becomes pollinated by it.
 

Goldhedge

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#11
It's not as if they don't make enough profit from the sale of the tractor, but the have to bleed farmers too?
 

Scorpio

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#12
According to the Report of the House of Representatives which accompanied the law (House Report No. 93-1197, 93d Cong 2d Sess.) the Magnuson–Moss act was enacted by Congress in response to the widespread misuse by merchants of express warranties and disclaimers. The legislative history indicates that the purpose of the Act is to make warranties on consumer products more readily understood and enforceable and to provide the Federal Trade Commission with means to better protect consumers.[1]

The Act was sponsored by Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and U.S. Representative John E. Moss of California, both Democrats, as well as Senator Frank Moss of Utah, who co-sponsored it with Magnuson.

The statute is remedial in nature and is intended to protect consumers from deceptive warranty practices. Consumer products are not required to have warranties, but if one is given, it must comply with the Magnuson–Moss Act.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson–Moss_Warranty_Act
 
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#13
They used to use these things to bypass the ECU's for the street racing crowd. Not sure if they work on tractors. Yet I don't see why not?
http://megasquirt.info/products/diy-kits/ms3/
DIY Kits:
MegaSquirt 3


Megasquirt-3 with MS3X

This is the latest top of the range MegaSquirt ECU – the MegaSquirt 3 (MS3)! This controller is jam-packed with features found on aftermarket engine controllers costing 10X as much, yet is easy to use and configure! Extremely popular, the MegaSquirt3 is the absolute best engine controller you can purchase at this price – or any price! If you are in the market for the best, then the MegaSquirt3 is for you! Here is just a small list of the amazing features available with MS3 that are ready to go to work for your ride:

  • MS3 incorporates 8 fuel+2 Aux and 8 logic-level spark ignition outputs, offering full sequential fuel and spark for hi-z injectors and logic level coil-on-plug coils (or high-current coils with suitable external ignition module.)
  • MS3 supports full-sequential on a V8 or semi-sequential with wasted spark on a V12. Full individual trim on spark and fuel and injector timing is mappable for optimum power.
  • Six relay/solenoid outputs for nitrous, boost, fan control, shift light, tachometer outputs etc. Electrical switch inputs for launch, idle-up, nitrous-in etc. and additional sensor inputs for external MAP sensors or measuring parameters such as pre/post intercooler, etc are included.
  • On-board SD-card datalogging allows fast data storage without the need for a laptop. Built-in USB-serial adapter eases connection to modern laptops.
  • CAN communication ability to interface with extender boards for more inputs and outputs on the more complex installs – e.g. multiple EGT, multiple widebands, speed sensors etc.
  • Calibration to adapt to practically any OEM temperature sensor is straightforward and numerous wideband calibrations are supported and ready-to-go.
  • Initial setup is aided by test modes for the fuel and spark and by built-in tooth loggers to help diagnose incoming tach signals.
  • The MS3 firmware includes many ‘race’ type features, two stages of progressive nitrous, water injection, closed loop boost control etc. Vehicle speed sensing, logging of EGT (with external hardware.)
  • In most configurations, the MS3 + MS3X +V357 can be used by setting a few configuration jumpers inside the box. It requires little or no DIY effort inside.
  • Full TunerStudio compatibility, and with the TunerStudio registered edition the capabilities of MS3 are expanded even more!
The complete MS3 system uses the V3/V357 mainboard, the MS3 daughtercard, and MS3 Expander card. It is possible to run MS3 without the expander card if desired. This gives all the software features of the full MS33, including batch-fire fuel, SD card logging and USB-serial interfaces. However in this configuration the I/O that the Expansion card provides will not be available (direct support 8 channel fuel and spark, relay outputs or switch or spare analog inputs). Included is batch-fire fuel, SD card logging and USB-serial). This configuration option may be of use to the more DIY orientated user who wants to upgrade from an existing MS1 or MS2.

For those wanting a complete, ready-to-go setup with harness, calibrations, etc then look at the PRO level of MegaSquirt3 products. These controllers repackage the MegaSquirt3 into a complete solution, with minimal fuss and effort.
 

Rusty Shackelford

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#14
As far as John Deere goes, how they run their business from sales to service is their business. Their business model projects certain levels of sales coupled with forced service. The reality is, if they don't get $x from sales and service then they have to raise prices on sales just to get the same $x. You can't win unless you wholly decide to boycot buying JD and get a couple Belgian horses.
 

Zed

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#15
The law needs to catch up with technology, consumer rights need some definition here. It would be dead easy to get these things throwing random codes that need attention every so often without anything serious being wrong. My old Subaru throws cat below threshold codes at the drop of a hat... I hacked the thing so it can't complain anymore... guess I am a crim!
 
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Joe King

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#16
As far as John Deere goes, how they run their business from sales to service is their business. Their business model projects certain levels of sales coupled with forced service. The reality is, if they don't get $x from sales and service then they have to raise prices on sales just to get the same $x. You can't win unless you wholly decide to boycot buying JD and get a couple Belgian horses.
That's what they'd like ya to think. What they're doing is trying to increase revenue off forced service. JD has always offered service on their equipment. They'd be there for the heavy repairs while the farmer took care of all the smaller issues along with basic PM. Now JD wants to force 'em to let them do it all. Which results in the backlog on repairs while the crops rot in the fields.

The answer is to build the tractor with the diagnostic code box built in and provide info as to what the codes mean. Same as they used to provide all the specs on all their equipment. The computer is just another part of the equipment.
 

Rusty Shackelford

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#17
As I said, their company, their business model. If you don't like it, buy elsewhere.

Now throw this in. Most farmers in my neck of the woods don't buy equipment anymore. They rent/lease it for the season. If you didn't buy it, it can see JD not wanting you working on "their" equipment.
 

mtnman

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#18
As I said, their company, their business model. If you don't like it, buy elsewhere.

Now throw this in. Most farmers in my neck of the woods don't buy equipment anymore. They rent/lease it for the season. If you didn't buy it, it can see JD not wanting you working on "their" equipment.
In that case, you should be able to sue for damages when crops are rotting and JD is too busy to fix your machine.