WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Up until now all the car owner could do is upgrade the hard ware of their vehicles, but now the software is an option too.

Car owners and computer security researchers can modify automobile software without incurring some U.S. copyright liability, according to new guidelines issued this month that had been opposed by the auto industry.

The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, agreed with fair use advocates who argued that vehicle owners are entitled to modify their cars, which often involves altering software.

Automakers including General Motors, and other companies such as John Deere, opposed the rules. They said vehicle owners could visit authorized repair shops for changes they may need to undertake.

However, U.S. copyright officials decided that altering computer programs for vehicle repair or modification might not infringe a manufacturer’s software copyright.

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