Buy a car and don’t own it, thanks to computers and copyright licensing. I didn’t think Right to Read was intended as a guidebook, but Michael Lewis has said that Liar’s Poker has been treated as a recruiting manual.
Thanks for The Right to Read article, that should be compulsory viewing.
Hopefully Tesla’s general “you don’t own your car” stance leads to a significant loss in the resale value, I’m betting it won’t however. As consumers we could have prevented much of the degradation of our rights years ago if we had all made a stand at the first DRM on music/movies/books. It kind of worked for music, Apple removed DRM from music a few years later, but now everyone is moving to streaming services and don’t seem to care what the differences are between owning/streaming/renting.
Tesla’s pushed a bunch of really irksome “you don’t own this” mentalities with their cars. TOS'ing away how you use your vehicle is one. Another is access to their service manuals: you have to pay $3k a year for a subscription to the service manual! Also at one point even the option to pay for it was only open to Massachusetts residents (Mass has a “right to repair” law that by all sanity should be nationwide).
They may make a good product, but everything around their cars is profoundly anti-consumer. Please don’t support it.
It’s pretty poor behavior, agreed.
I look forward to the point where I have the option of literally not owning it (that is, access to a cheap on-demand service instead of putting down the capital up-front).
I feel like we lack good words to express the cultural upset of discovering that ‘ownership’ and ‘control’ are no longer the same thing (and may never be again).
The view of non-ownership spreading outside of tech is I think a realization by other companies, fueled from watching the tech sector, that copyright law is a legal construct ripe for abuse. Machines have relied on copyrighted materials forever, but back in the 80s no company left a footnote in their service manual saying “by reading this manual, you agree to only use Honda-brand replacement parts in the repair of this car.” Yet that’s basically what Tesla and others are relying on by shipping your car with a EULA: the car relies on copyrighted software to run, and they can set arbitrary usage requirements on that software, and thanks to more recent copyright developments you can’t even legally replace that software with something less insane. The response, I think, should be to legally disallow this “tainting” effect, so that any copyrighted material as part of a larger owned apparatus must be either open to any use or replaceable with something untainted.
‘Ownership’ and ‘control’ don’t have to be separate. We can still fix this.
Does copyright in the US actually limit people’s right to use software (as opposed to just make and sell copies or derivatives of it, etc.)? My understanding was that the licenses that start with “by using this software…” or “you don’t own the software, but a license to use it” fall strictly under contract law and as such have nothing to do with copyright. Am I wrong?
The situation in EU is exactly as you would’ve described though; copyright holders are given the exclusive right to control use.
They never were: owning the building vs. having the key. The guy with the key gets to enter, the guy with the paper that signifies ownership gets to sue for the key. But this has not really affected the common man and her property, because in order to operate things the key couldn’t be reasonably taken away.
The cultural upset will come when the kill switch is engaged too often and I expect that there will be a very fine line walked by the cooperations to avoid this situation.
There is a far more important reason to support Tesla though: climate change. Tesla is the only reason the automotive industry is (unwillingly) shifting towards EVs, but it’s far from a done deal, so continued success of Tesla is necessary until the shift to EVs is complete.
Climate change is certainly important, but Tesla isn’t our savior here, for two reasons.
First, while Tesla may have accelerated the trend, they’re now far from the only ones in the EV space. They’re just most techy/luxury brand. Now that there are other options on the market, you can totally avoid them for their shitty business practices.
Second, emissions reductions don’t actually depend so deeply on EVs. Cars & trucks currently make up 30% of US emissions, so if everyone went out and got PZEV vehicles (California-speak for a car with 90% less emissions than a normal vehicle), that would put transportation at 3% of US emissions, behind every other sector including agriculture. PZEVs aren’t necessarily hybrids or even remarkably fuel-efficient, many just have well-designed exhaust systems (modern Subarus, among others). This is good, since a car you can’t fill up at the local gas station is a complete non-starter for much of America.
Now we won’t quickly reduce transportation emissions by that much, for obvious reasons (much of transportation emissions are trucks that aren’t going anywhere, old cars will keep running for years yet, etc). Consider the marginal benefit climate-wise of getting a normal PZEV car vs. a very expensive luxury EV, as well as the personal cost of not being able to fill it up wherever. Even beyond Tesla, EVs are still in the upper range of “normal car” costs, and even electric motorbikes go for at least $10k.
EVs aren’t most of the answer to clean cars, at least not immediately. You do have good options outside them though.
I should point out that this doesn’t consider the carbon cost of oil extraction, refinement and transport. One estimate pegs the cost of refinement at 2.5lbs of CO2 per gallon of gasoline, where burning that gallon produces 20lbs of CO2. Now CO2 isn’t the only or even most interesting greenhouse gas cars produce, but maybe that puts the effective total emissions reduction of a PZEV at around 80% ballpark. Keep in mind that much of that cost is incurred by power plants as well, so this isn’t necessarily a great advantage for EVs.
PZEV is about pollutant emissions, and has nothing to do with CO2. PZEV vehicles are beneficial for smog, but have essentially zero impact on global warming.
(Also, and this is an extremely minor nitpick, your math is off: if you reduce 30% by 90%, the remainder is actually 4%, because the total is now only 73% of its original value.)
You’re right about PZEV not covering CO2, thank you, I missed that. However, it does not follow that they make no difference in global warming. A revised estimate based on exhaust gas makeup here and Global Warming Potential of various compounds here: a spherical car in a vacuum emits 415 grams/mile of CO2 (GWP 1) and 1.39 grams/mile of NOx (GWP ~280) for a total of 804 Penguins Killed per Mile. NOx is covered by PZEV, so cutting the NOx emissions by 90% leaves you at 454 PK/m, or a total of a 46% reduction in greenhouse effect from a non-PZEV vehicle. It would seem we were both about halfway from right :).
So to effectively reduce your greenhouse impact without getting an EV, you want a car that’s both fuel-efficient and low-emissions. Hybrids look like a better investment now. Another option is recent-model motorcycles such as this thing, which gets 100+mpg and comes with such revolutionary enhancements as a catalytic converter and not-carbeurator. Be wary of older bikes though: mine, for point of comparison, gets 40mpg and is party to neither of these newfangled technologies, and so is rather less than stellar environmentally.
(And yes, my math was off. I will consider the nit picked :)
edit: the linked bike is actually a tiny thing that tops out at 50mph. Serves me right for skimming. There’s a good collection of bikes that get 70+mpg and are highway-capable, so the point still stands. Small bikes and scooter might also be a valid option, depending.
I would caution against engaging in thought experiments which bear little relation to reality. The problem is far too urgent and dangerous to be saying “oh yeah, if we did this hypothetical thing which doesn’t work, we would solve it”. It trivialises the magnitude of the problem and provides misleading reassurance.
In reality, emissions of CO2 need to go down to zero, not reduce by some vague percentage. And in reality, you can’t put everyone or even the majority of people on motorbikes (consider families with children, for one thing).
Anyway, with your revised figures, I think you reinforced my point about the importance of Tesla and EVs generally.
They’re only disallowing self-driving for Lyft et al which doesnt surprise me since they have a competing service coming up.
You can still manually drive your Tesla and make money doing it.
It’s like disallowing using a hammer to build a shelf because the hammer company also sells shelfs. In this case, it’s a $120000 hammer.