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Farmers Demand Right To Fix Their Own Dang Tractors (modernfarmer.com) 639

According to a report, farmers are demanding the right to fix their tractors. The report reminds us that owners of tractors aren't allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property. The world's largest tractor maker, John Deere, in fact, says that people who purchase tractors don't really own them and instead they are getting an "implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle." Some farmers are voicing their opinion against these laws. From the article: What this has meant is that tractor owners can't repair their own tractors -- and if they do, they're in violation of the DMCA. So, if a machine stops working, its owner can't pop the hood, run some tests, and find out what's going on; he or she is legally required to take the tractor to a service center (one owned by the manufacturer, since that's the only entity allowed to analyze the tractor's issues). This can be expensive and time-consuming, and more to the point, unnecessary -- at least according to farmers in several states, who are lobbying to force tractor manufacturers make their diagnostic tools available to independent repair shops and owners. Not everyone is on the farmers' side here; some, according to the Associated Press, are concerned that the move would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers, potentially landing them in trouble. But the tractor owners disagree, annoyed that their tractors are treated differently from their cars and trucks, which can be serviced by any independent shop.
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Farmers Demand Right To Fix Their Own Dang Tractors

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  • License to work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:46AM (#52540461)

    So basically John Deere is reserving the right to cancel any of these licenses, impound the farmer's tractors, and put him out of a job?

    • Re:License to work (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:19AM (#52540789)

      I don't think that's what John Deere is meaning for at all. And let me play devil's advocate here for a minute, as someone who has worked with farmers in the past.

      First of all, as someone who grew up working on farms and with farmers, let me dispel some of the Norman Rockwell bullshit image about the "noble farmer." The farmers that I knew coming up weren't the "heart and soul of America" (well, maybe they were, but not in a good way). They were the greediest, cheapest bunch of sonabitches you ever wanted to meet in your life. They would routinely try cheat their workers, crawl over their mother's dead bodies to make an extra penny, lie, cheat, and often outright steal if they thought they could get away with it. They were the kind of unabashed brutal capitalists who would easily give the most heartless Wall Street prick a run for his money in greed and avarice.

      They didn't do this out of necessity, mind you. Most of the farmers I knew had plenty of money. Far from the popular image of the poor struggling farmers, most of them were quite well-off. Yet they would cheat you out of every dime they could if they got a chance. And when the illegals came in to my area in a big way back in the late-80's and early-90's, these "noble farmers" were the first to happily hire them, cutting farmhand wages in half and pocketing the difference by flagrantly breaking the law. The average farmworker salary went from $7/hr. to $4/hr. almost overnight, in spite of the fact that farmers were already making good money paying their workers $7/hr.

      With that in mind, I suspect this John Deere situation has something in common with the controversial Monsanto seed situation, in that the real truth is that it boils down to cheap-ass greedy farmers using the "evil big corporation vs. the little noble farmer" image to their advantage by villianizing John Deere. What I suspect is REALLY going on here is that John Deere and other manufacturers have adopted a model of selling their equipment to farmers either at a loss or at cost, with the understanding that they'll make their profit in implicit servicing contracts. And the farmers, now that they have the equipment in hand on the cheap, have decided to "alter the deal" (to quote the great Darth Vader) to save a buck. And they're playing on their bullshit image to portray themselves as the little guy fighting back against evil big business to do it, when in reality they're every bit as greedy and underhanded as the company they're fighting (likely more so).

      Now go ahead an mod me down, all of you whose only knowledge of farmers comes from John Mellencamp songs.

      • Re:License to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by guises ( 2423402 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:45AM (#52540977)
        Most of your argument there consists of, "I hate farmers." You throw in a bit at the end about how non-sale sales and customer lock-in are okay, although maybe that's only when they're directed at farmers, who you hate.

        Ignoring the first part of your argument: when a company sells a product, but retains practical ownership over that product, that's a big problem and it's been happening more and more wherever the opportunity to do so has arisen. The farmers in this case are asking for nothing which hasn't already been addressed for other vehicles, and regardless of how greedy they may be this is a perfectly reasonable request.
      • Re:License to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CaptSlaq ( 1491233 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:53AM (#52541063)

        I don't think that's what John Deere is meaning for at all. And let me play devil's advocate here for a minute, as someone who has worked with farmers in the past.

        First of all, as someone who grew up working on farms and with farmers, let me dispel some of the Norman Rockwell bullshit image about the "noble farmer." The farmers that I knew coming up weren't the "heart and soul of America" (well, maybe they were, but not in a good way). They were the greediest, cheapest bunch of sonabitches you ever wanted to meet in your life. They would routinely try cheat their workers, crawl over their mother's dead bodies to make an extra penny, lie, cheat, and often outright steal if they thought they could get away with it. They were the kind of unabashed brutal capitalists who would easily give the most heartless Wall Street prick a run for his money in greed and avarice.

        They didn't do this out of necessity, mind you. Most of the farmers I knew had plenty of money. Far from the popular image of the poor struggling farmers, most of them were quite well-off. Yet they would cheat you out of every dime they could if they got a chance. And when the illegals came in to my area in a big way back in the late-80's and early-90's, these "noble farmers" were the first to happily hire them, cutting farmhand wages in half and pocketing the difference by flagrantly breaking the law. The average farmworker salary went from $7/hr. to $4/hr. almost overnight, in spite of the fact that farmers were already making good money paying their workers $7/hr.

        With that in mind, I suspect this John Deere situation has something in common with the controversial Monsanto seed situation, in that the real truth is that it boils down to cheap-ass greedy farmers using the "evil big corporation vs. the little noble farmer" image to their advantage by villianizing John Deere. What I suspect is REALLY going on here is that John Deere and other manufacturers have adopted a model of selling their equipment to farmers either at a loss or at cost, with the understanding that they'll make their profit in implicit servicing contracts. And the farmers, now that they have the equipment in hand on the cheap, have decided to "alter the deal" (to quote the great Darth Vader) to save a buck. And they're playing on their bullshit image to portray themselves as the little guy fighting back against evil big business to do it, when in reality they're every bit as greedy and underhanded as the company they're fighting (likely more so).

        Now go ahead an mod me down, all of you whose only knowledge of farmers comes from John Mellencamp songs.

        I won't contest that farmers are businessmen first, despite being firmly blue collar, but they DO have to hedge against QUITE a bit of stuff. While they don't worry about "the consumer won't buy our product", they DO worry about "what happens when the crop gets destroyed by bad weather/vermin/disease" and "geez that's a lot of water I'm having to pump this year". These impact the bottom line and have to be hedged against. Long term farmers hedge against multiple seasons of bad, which is why they've survived as long as they have.

        The amount of assets (which includes the land itself) required for farming is pretty significant when compared to most other businesses.

        Broken equipment doesn't just cost "what's in my SLA", but could cost a significant yeild of a crop. Being able to fix stuff in-situ makes sure the wheels keep turning. This is (part) of the argument against John Deere: Calling them during a busy time is potentially a massive problem because "Locusts are chewing through the field next to mine and if I don't get mine crop harvested, I'm not going to get anything out if it either." "We can dispatch someone tomorrow" is a non-starter at times. I don't know how the SLAs are set up for farm equipment, if there are any. When my family was working, it was fixed in place with bailing wire, duct tape, bubble gum, and spit, until it could be fixed right.

      • Re:License to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:54AM (#52541075)

        What I suspect is REALLY going on here is that John Deere and other manufacturers have adopted a model of selling their equipment to farmers either at a loss or at cost, with the understanding that they'll make their profit in implicit servicing contracts. And the farmers, now that they have the equipment in hand on the cheap, have decided to "alter the deal" (to quote the great Darth Vader) to save a buck.

        Well then, John Deere should get a lesson on what happens when you have a stupid business model. If they want to make a profit on equipment sales, they'd better price their equipment such that they can turn a profit.

        Whether or not the farmers are cheap bastards -- given human nature, they probably are -- is really irrelevant.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          This. And there's pertinent case law from the Lexmark case. Hint: Lexmark lost handily. If it looks like a sale, the courts take a dim view of treating it otherwise. And this case also has Magnusson Moss going against them on top of the existing DMCA abuse case law.

      • Re:License to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:03AM (#52541153) Homepage Journal

        What I suspect is REALLY going on here is that John Deere and other manufacturers have adopted a model of selling their equipment to farmers either at a loss or at cost, with the understanding that they'll make their profit in implicit servicing contracts. And the farmers, now that they have the equipment in hand on the cheap, have decided to "alter the deal" (to quote the great Darth Vader) to save a buck.

        If I buy somebody's loss leader and then don't want to participate in the business model they were expecting, that doesn't mean I've "altered the deal" unless there was an actual deal.

        And if somebody's trying to save a buck that doesn't make him bad. In fact if he's the guy supplying our food or something else we need that makes him good.

      • Re:License to work (Score:5, Informative)

        by neurojab ( 15737 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:12AM (#52541231)

        As a counterpoint to this, my childhood was on a farm, and pretty much was straight out of a John Mellencamp song. We didn't have hired hands, were not dirt poor but certainly not "well off". We pretty much did all the work as a family - including fixing the tractors to some degree. Well, honestly, my dad did that and at best I watched. That might not be your experience, and I respect that, but small family farms still do exist in some parts of the US. I can see why these folks would want to fix their own tractors. For one, do you know how hard it is to get a tractor that isn't working to a dealer?

        As for John Deere being a greedy corporation or just trying to make an honest buck - you can look at it either way. The fact is that tractors these days are large very expensive pieces of machinery that are generally not purchased sans financing - so the initial cost vs monthly cost is just a matter of which pocket the money comes from.

      • Re:License to work (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:17AM (#52541259) Homepage Journal

        I do not think they sell anything at a loss. I think this is very much the same issue as cpu binning and turning features on and off in software.
        I bet that JD limits the power in some of the tractor motors in software. It could be so they can sell the same unit at a higher power output for more money or it could be to cut down on warranty claims.
        Jet engine makers do the same thing.

      • Re:License to work (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <theshadow99@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:57AM (#52541565)

        Your view of farmers and mine seem a bit different. Then again farmers where i live rarely have farm hands... Well a few do, but they aren't immigrants, instead it's typically local teens. Though most of them also probably have ~100 acres of farmland at most in the first place, so maybe the ones you know work on a different scale.

        That said, the farmers I knew still were not 'poor'. Farm kids when I went to high school where the ones whose parents bought them brand new cars to drive when they turned 16 and who could go to Florida every year for a few weeks during summer. They were also big supporters of the schools (most notably the sports teams like baseball and football, and their kids usually played on those teams) and made some fairly large donations so school libraries, football fields, and gyms were often named after farmers (at least 20 or so years ago).

        I found them to be much like other people: some were kind and generous, some were in between, others were mean and rotten, and lastly were those tightfisted greedy ones. They were however all business people, but that didn't always mean 'greedy and selfish'. It just meant they ran a business and had to take a broader view than most.

      • What I suspect is REALLY going on here is that John Deere and other manufacturers have adopted a model of selling their equipment to farmers either at a loss or at cost, with the understanding that they'll make their profit in implicit servicing contracts.

        So their motivation is no longer to make a good, durable product, but one that is incredibly complicated, delicate, and expensive (aka, a Porche or Ferrari), requiring frequent repairs that can only be done by them (a monopoly with DMCA teeth).

        Yes, some

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KlomDark ( 6370 )

        From South-Central Nebraska here, and you are massively full of crap. Sure, there are some mega-corp farms, and unfortunately more each year, as the smaller farmers ( 2000 acres) are getting decimated by things like this.

        Sure, there are some rich farmers, but most are not.

        But to say most are rich is complete crap.

  • how enforcable (Score:3, Informative)

    by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:47AM (#52540469) Journal

    How enforcable is an "implied license"? How can we know what words are in it, to enforce?

    I strongly sympathize with the farmers in this case, but then I've been fixing mechanical things my entire life, both personally and professionally. This bullshit has crippled a large chunk of the aftermarket and the auto industry, and now its spreading to here..????? Excuse me, but why would I pay 5- grand for a tractor that I'm only licensing? Are they gona do *all* the maintenance on it for the 50 grand they are charging? If no then they can go pound sand.

    (General -purpose row crop 50-90 PTO HP 4x4 w/remote hydraulic and a bucket)

    • It's more like 500-grand. Farmers are always up to their eyeballs in debt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Correction: SOME farmers have debt. The farm I grew up working has zero debt as do most of its neighbors. We've all been operating in the same location for the past 200 years or so, there are family gravestones in the back yard with dates in the 1700's.

        Properly cared-for ag equipment can easily last and be productive, money making machines for 50 years. That's about what the depreciation schedule looks like, too. Its not uncommon to see a 40 yr old tractor sell for 1/2 of the new price.

    • Re:how enforcable (Score:4, Informative)

      by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:59AM (#52540593)
      Talk so Monsanto. I think you'll learn these laws are very enforceable.
      • Talk so Monsanto. I think you'll learn these laws are very enforceable.

        Not that I agree with them; but they had PATENTS on their side. Bit of a difference, legally.
        br. Still undeniably dickish, though.

    • Re:how enforcable (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @11:11AM (#52541215)

      We've been having the same problem with computers for years. Sure, you "buy" the hardware - but then all of the software that makes it usable is proprietary and you are at the mercy of the vendor. Even if you run Linux, it takes extraordinary effort to go all open-source.

      This tractor mess is very analogous, and is in the same area of law (I think, IANAL). I really think copyright law should allow limited modification of hardware drivers, even for commercial purposes. For example, if I want to create a company which makes a better Nvidia graphics driver, that should be fine even if I just mod the existing binary drivers. Building my own clone and then shipping the Nvidia drivers should probably still be restricted. The idea is to encourage 3rd party "repair" options without destroying the value of Nvidia's IP. In the tractor case, this would allow 3rd party tools which interact and even modify John Deere software, but it would not allow a cheap knockoff to use the John Deere software directly.

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:47AM (#52540475) Homepage

    some, according to the Associated Press, are concerned that the move would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers, potentially landing them in trouble.

    Who gives a shit apart from the owners of the tractor makers?

  • John Deere is evil. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:47AM (#52540479) Homepage

    They are trying to subvert the foundations of capitalism - ownership.

    They are abusing the DMCA - a badly designed law that was created to stop IP theft but has instead become a weapon of fraud to trick people into paying ownership prices for what in reality is merely renting.

    It's like if you go to buy a house and you pay $800k, up front, expecting to be able to get a mortgage, leave the place to your kids, and sell it if you have to, only to be told later that you merely rented the place for your life time.

    Fraud is fraud - whether it is done by outright lies, or instead by hidden fine print in contracts, that no one but lawyer reads

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can no longer repair my washing machine myself, it uses a proprietary modem to generate tones to transfer diagnostic information. I cannot legally dissect those tones thanks to the DMCA. Very slippery slope ahead

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I use a twenty year old washing machine. It works perfectly and I expect it to last another twenty years at least. My grandmother used a washing machine from the 1920's, and while a little inconvenient, also worked fine. Washing clothes has been around since clothes and nothing more needs to be done. Humanity solved that problem millennia ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They are trying to subvert the foundations of capitalism - ownership.

      They are abusing the DMCA - a badly designed law that was created to stop IP theft but has instead become a weapon of fraud to trick people into paying ownership prices for what in reality is merely renting.

      It's like if you go to buy a house and you pay $800k, up front, expecting to be able to get a mortgage, leave the place to your kids, and sell it if you have to, only to be told later that you merely rented the place for your life time.

      Fraud is fraud - whether it is done by outright lies, or instead by hidden fine print in contracts, that no one but lawyer reads

      For the most part, I agree with your statement, but unfortunately people basically do RENT their homes. They just paid a huge amount for the deposit. What do you think happens when you don't pay your property taxes (rent)? The powers that be will seize the land and auction it off if the tax (rent) is not paid!

      • That's not the same as renting. Over here at least, property taxes are treated the same as any other tax. If you don't pay them, they'll send a pissy letter, add late fees, and eventually they can garnish your wages (up to a point) or even seize your assets and sell them off to pay for the debt. And a house or land is usually the last item being seized, and only if they debt is great enough. If not they'll just continue to pay the debt out of your wages.

        Ownership means you are free to dispose of the
  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:48AM (#52540491) Homepage

    the farmers, should they have to sue, have precedent on their side. Car manufacturers were forced to open up their diagnostic codes for car owners and allow third party connections. That seemed to work out the best for everyone. Showing once again that short-sighted, for profit motivations may not be the best for the market.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      And yet, car manufacturers are doing it again. A friend of mine has an older Prius. OBD-II works for those few systems that are standardized and common, but all of the new features that aren't covered by OBD-II are hidden away by a proprietary set of codes that need a special scanner to read. Everyone wants to lock people into their system instead of someone else's so that the money has to come to them.

  • The world's largest tractor maker, John Deere, in fact, says that people who purchase tractors don't really own them and instead they are getting an "implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle."

    If this is true, then why does the manufacturer not have an obligation to repair the tractor for free?

    • by NetNed ( 955141 )
      That's what I was thinking. If the manufacturer still owns it then they should be on the hook to fix it. Also, considering the cost of a new tractor, I find it hard to believe that the manufacturer is struggling to make ends meet.
      • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:02AM (#52540617) Journal

        "Oh, sure, we'll fix it for free, but you have to bring it to our repair facility in Tucson. Oh, by the way, our single qualified technician is backlogged six months. If your crops can't wait six months, we do offer a premium value-added repair service that includes same-day onsite repairs..."

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      And that is the judgement the farmers need to get from a judge.

      Ruling that the tractor maker is responsible for all maintenance and repair costs and must do them for free for the life of the owner.

      Overnight the tractor makers CEO's will stop being Scumbags that hate america, and do the right thing.

      Yes kids, you have to have laws controlling companies, because they are inherently evil and must be controlled.

  • Obvious solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:50AM (#52540513) Journal
    Don't reward bad behavior. While the law does need to be changed, the other avenue is to stop buying John Deere tractors. There are several other options. Case IH seems to be more than willing to supply repair manuals [dmcretail.com] for their equipment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Mod up. I started out on a 1955 Case, which is still working and making money every day.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Japanese farming equipment is very good quality and reasonably priced. Some of the Chinese stuff is very good now too.

      • Japanese farming equipment is very good quality and reasonably priced.

        I'm sure it is. Doesn't mean you can get parts for it quickly and easily though. One huge advantage to buying from a company like Deere is that they have an excellent service and parts network almost everywhere in the US. There is a Deere dealer within relatively easy driving distance just about anywhere you go in the US. Buy from a no-name and you might have a harder time of it. Of course if Deere insists on shooting themselves in the foot like this then that might become less of an issue.

        Some of the Chinese stuff is very good now too.

        Same problem

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:53AM (#52540521) Homepage

    ...would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers

    bullshit. Speaking as someone who grew up on a farm, almost no independent farmer "buys" a tractor. Its all leased seasonally or yearly, depending on what/when you need it. These manufacturers have a constant stream of interest payments and down payments coming from their own financial lending firms.

    A Claas-Axion, used: is $140,000. assuming youve got a lot more than 100 acres, youre going to need a xerion...which again used is more than 200 grand. Do you want to harvest those crops too? you wont be buying Claas because theyre harder than hens teeth to find. John Deere is going to run you through the ringer for another $335,000 "9 series" combine that will refuse to start for almost any code.

    so in short, no one on a farm owns a tractor and if they do its 50 years old. Youre hearing more about the DMCA iissue because shops are wising up and refusing to carry replacement and repair parts, at the behest of people like Deere that want to move more new stock in a car dealership model.

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @09:55AM (#52540557)

    "...Not everyone is on the farmers' side here; some, according to the Associated Press, are concerned that the move would reduce revenue to tractor manufacturers, potentially landing them in trouble...."

    Since we're talking about John Deere here, let me point out the fact that their global revenue almost doubled in the last ten years. In short, fuck your concerns about them being "in trouble".

    "...But the tractor owners disagree, annoyed that their tractors are treated differently from their cars and trucks, which can be serviced by any independent shop."

    For now, cars can be serviced at any independent shop. Let me know how that changes when Tesla becomes the dominant force on the road today, or when autonomous automobile laws force people to maintain their vehicles according to specific guidelines designed to maximize revenue for manufacturers and authorized support centers.

    It's not too hard to clearly see where the concept of ownership is headed in the future.

    • Revenue is a bullshit number used for politics. Revenue excludes all expenses, and so doubling your revenue while operating on slimmer margins and drawing more profits lets you report hundreds of billions of dollars more money when you're managing to *lose* profits and going into deeper debt.

      Deere and Company's gross profits are about 30% consistently; their net profits (after all expenses) are around 5%. Farmers shoot for a 20% net profit margin, but usually take in around 10%. Cliff Bar Company has r

  • If the tractor mfr's want to go this route, why not just do a lease? Pretty much same terms apply, and they do the maintenance.
  • Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fulldecent ( 598482 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:15AM (#52540743) Homepage

    People seeking DCMA reform couldn't ask for a better ally than farmers.

    Farmers are the most politically active constituency.

  • by twmcneil ( 942300 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:16AM (#52540761)
    Just like in our business, uptime is crucially important for these farmers. During the spring planting time and the fall harvest period, if that machine breaks, it needs to be RIGHT NOW. They can't wait a "few days" for the dealership mechanic to visit. And he's busy as all hell fixing our people's shit. This isn't just a bunch hay-seeds saying they want to break their knuckles for the fun of it. This is a very serious situation that can have devastating effects on the bottom line.
  • I will support them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:27AM (#52540845)

    But ONLY if they will support a Universal Right to Repair law.

    Cars and Tractors should not be special. We should have the same rights to ALL DEVICES mechanical and electronic.

  • The bill is due (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Branya ( 777172 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:28AM (#52540857)

    Iowa farmers: Please ask the state to send all property tax bills for John Deere tractors to the "owner" (John Deere) instead of the farmer. Ask for all the state sales tax money back since there was no sale. Ask JD for the liability insurance policy number for all the tractors since they apparently own them. The possibilities are endless

  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:34AM (#52540903) Homepage Journal
    My cousins all have New Holland equipment for this reason. They're easy to repair, all the engine codes are published and parts are easily orderable.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:45AM (#52540981) Journal
    Albus Dumbledore explains to Harry Potter the philosophy of Goblins and the concept of selling an object.

    From the Goblin POV, the only true master of any object is the person who made it. They do not like the habit of witches and wizards acquiring goblin made objects and passing them from wizard to wizard by sale or by inheritance. What wizard think as the price paid to a Goblin own an object, is merely a license fee to use the object for the lifetime of the purchaser. When the wizard dies, or no longer wants to own it, the object should be returned to the Goblin who made it.

    John Deere will agree with this philosophy wholeheartedly.

  • But... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2016 @10:51AM (#52541035)

    iii if the farmers only are "licensing" the equipment (and that is UTTER NONSENSE).

    Who is responsible for the property tax on the equipment and in the case of an accident, legal liability?

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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