Reuters reports that the Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, has adopted an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that will allow vehicle owners to diagnose, repair or modify the software in their personal automobile, commercial motor vehicle or mechanized agricultural vehicle.

The Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers, Deere & Co. and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Assn. opposed the exemption, saying vehicle owners could take their vehicle to an authorized repair shop to make changes and repairs. However, copyright officials ultimately decided that altering software for repair or modification purposes is not an infringement of the manufacturer’s software copyright.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also opposed the exemption, citing fears for public health, safety and the environment. This prompted the exemption to constitute that repairs and modifications to vehicle software are allowed, but only in cases where no laws are being broken and regulations of the DOT and EPA are being met.

The exemption will take effect in 1 year, allowing government agencies time to plan and prepare for the exemption. The new rules must then be renewed in 3 years.

You can read the entire order here.