Pretty much EVERYTHING runs on computers now. And without software, computers are nothing. You may (or may not) be surprised to know that many things you've paid for - (downloaded music, books, video games) you don't own. Instead, you are just LICENSED to use them. According to, the lawyers at John Deere are now making the case that, since they own the software in that tractor of yours, you really only have an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” GM also says they own much of what's in the cars they "sell". The problem with that is, if you want to sell your tractor or car to some third party, it begs the question, "can you legally sell what isn't entirely your property?"

The U.S. Copyright Office will be holding hearings on the matter next month and this summer we'll find out what happens. My guess is that this is about people stealing or copying corporate software and it will be resolved in favor of us low-lifes.

Here's one of the reports about this.


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