Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

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September 17, 2021

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada
Via Email: copyright-consultation-droitdauteur@canada.ca

Re: Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things

To whom it may concern,

On behalf of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), I am writing in response to the consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines across the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining, and utility-related industry sectors worldwide. Collectively, the Canadian equipment manufacturing industry supports 149,000 jobs and contributes roughly $45 billion per year to the Canadian economy.

Equipment manufacturers support an owner’s right to repair their equipment, and indeed, they already provide the tools and information owners need to do so. Modern agriculture equipment is increasingly sophisticated – as a result of efforts to increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve safety – and in a few cases a trained and licensed service technician is required to repair it.

AEM is concerned with regard to unfettered access to the software that governs on-board technology on equipment that changes to the Copyright Act could allow. We believe that changes are unnecessary in light of the commitment our industry has already made to users. Our industry is responding to user needs. That is why we are committed to making available the tools that equipment owners need to navigate on-board technology. Today, users have access to on-board diagnostics tools via in-cab display or wireless interface, electronic diagnostic service tools, and training on how to use both. Our industry also makes available manuals, product guides, and product service information.

The “Right to Repair” is not a Right to Modify

Proponents of changes to the Copyright Act have offered that circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) will only be allowed for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance, or repair. However, such modifications are not without additional risks. Modifications of equipment manufacturer settings may:

  • Detract from resale value of any equipment
  • Be prone to unintended consequences of untested coding
  • Pose unnecessary and avoidable safety risks
  • Void or otherwise violate warranty provisions

Allowing unfettered access to the source code that governs on-board technology on equipment will not only undermine manufacturers' innovation and intellectual property rights, it will exacerbate real risk of enabling modifications that run afoul of safety and emissions requirements for the equipment. Modifications also create unknown liability issues for the individuals modifying the code, dealers who subsequently trade-in modified equipment for resale, as well as subsequent owners of modified equipment. The unfettered ability to modify equipment will effectively destroy the market for used equipment, which is important for many small farmers.

Equipment manufacturers and dealers have made a commitment to make available a comprehensive toolkit of maintenance, diagnostic and repair information for tractors and combines this year. While much of this information is already available, manufacturers and dealers are going the extra step to provide end users with commonsense solutions that strike the proper balance in the way “right to repair” legislation would not.

In conclusion, we thank you for the opportunity to engage with you on this issue. We would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation in the future. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Sincerely,

Kip Eideberg
Senior Vice President, Government & Industry Relations