Now that cars are essentially computers on wheels, members of the auto industry are raising some important questions. While some automakers say computer systems found in today's cars should be protected by intellectual property rights, organizations like the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) maintain these rules would unfairly prevent owners from servicing or modifying their own vehicles.

This week, U.S. regulators ruled to allow drivers to tinker with their own vehicles, but the decision comes with a few caveats.
The entire issue revolves around a law enacted in 1998 called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits circumventing controls put in place by a copyright owner to protect copyrighted works.

The new U.S. ruling creates an exception to the law, allowing drivers to tinker with car software for the purpose of repairing or modifying their own cars. However, U.S. regulators didn't go so far as to allow third parties to perform these tasks on behalf of the vehicle owner.

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#SEMA2015: Fed Rules That Consumers Can Legally Modify In-Car Computers

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