Did copyright law hinder detection of VW’s emissions scheme?

As regulators and policymakers consider how to respond to VW's emissions scandal — in which the company programmed its vehicles to emit less during tests than under normal conditions (for our prior discussions, see here, here, and here) — one angle they might consider for future reform is copyright.

Sen. Ron Wyden opined last week that regulators might have figured out the scheme sooner had it not been for copyright protections that deterred researchers from diving into the vehicle's software, on pain of a costly suit for copyright infringement. “The obstacle thrown up against access to copyrighted software makes it more difficult for researchers and engineers to find similar problems in the future,” Wyden wrote in his Wall Street Journal op-ed.

The Hill has the story and a link to the op-ed (the Hill story is free; the WSJ op-ed is behind a paywall).

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