Exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have finally gone into effect, which means that you can now legally hack the computer systems on your motorcycle and other motor vehicles.
The exceptions were put into place last year by the Librarian of Congress, despite pressure from vehicle manufacturers, who wanted to extend digital right management (DRM) practices to the computer systems that now permeate the two and four-wheeled spaces.
This is a win for security researchers and hobbyist mechanics, because it means that they can modify the software on their personal and research vehicles, without the fear of running afoul of the DMCA, which we should point out was written roughly 20 years ago.
You may have not realized it, but if certain OEMs had their way, you would not be legally allowed to work on your own motorcycle. That’s right, because of a perversion of the US copyright law, it would have been illegal for you to turn a wrench on your motorcycle, all in the name of digital rights management.
The issues comes around because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law from 1998 that was originally intended to update the Copyright Act of 1976 for life in the digital age.
Of the more important provisions, the DMCA protects ISPs from copyright claims, and it defines how copyright law would work on the internet and other digital mediums.
One of the major sections of the DMCA deals with digital rights management (DRM), and attempts to circumvent digital systems that are meant to block access to copyrighted information and material. This effectively makes it a violation of the DMCA to circumvent any sort of DRM or encryption put forth by a rights holder.
The original intent of this provision was to protect record labels and movie studios, who were seeing their products shared on peer-to-peer networks ad infinitum, but crafty lawyers have been able to expand this portion of the DMCA to include just about any digital system, including your motorcycle…until now.
Continuing today’s theme on fairly useless cellphone knowledge for motorcyclists, the good people at The Unicode Consortium (the people who run the industry standard on computer text and symbols) have released a new batch of emojis.
We understand if you may not know what an emoji is, but you’ve likely encountered one if you text message or use social media like Facebook or Twitter — think of it as a sophisticated smilie that is built into your operating system’s language code (a smilie being a group of punctuation that is meant to look like a picture, which is meant to convey emotion).
Popularized by teenagers, emjois saw explosive use after text and instant messaging applications gave access to them. Surprisingly though, there has been no motorcycle emoji for motorcyclists to use…until now.
The news of the 2011 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC got me thinking today about where the sport bike market is headed from a big picture perspective.
The sport bike market has been dominated the constant need to develop motorcycles with more power, less weight, and new performance enhancing technologies, and you’d be hard pressed to find a year where the bike with the most horsepower wasn’t the top-seller in this category (case in point: the complete sales domination of the BMW S1000RR during 2010).
For years the motorcycle manufacturers, especially the Japanese, have been painting themselves into a corner by constantly having to one-up each other with horsepower figures in order to sell motorcycles in this segment.
With bikes like the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R approaching the 200hp barrier, the question about “how much power is enough?” has been cropping up, and it certainly could be that we’re approaching the point in time where the relevancy of this metric is losing it’s power (pun moderately intended).
So what will be the new kingmaker for sport bikes? The electronics package.