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Thread: Is Coding Theft?

  1. #1
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    Is Coding Theft?

    Some time back Tesla removed a feature because the car had been sold with the feature but the new owner understood it came with the car and Tesla lost the argument for Australian cars and had to re-instate it with no payment to Tesla. Tesla's argument was all features that were extras and not paid for by the new owner did not belong to him. This case could be the reason subscription is becoming more wide spread led of course by Tesla. Never let anyone get between a dollar and Elon Musk!!!

    Does this work the other way, if a car is coded to enable a feature that was not paid for is that theft? It has never occurred to me before but it came up the other day in conversation.

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    On the other side of the coin what about the features that are built into the car but not enabled.

    EG Dynamic light assist in Tigs up to 2020, horn on lock, change ambient lighting colours, Lots of things that were in some models and not enabled in others. Is it theft by the maker to not have them available on purchase.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillbilly View Post
    On the other side of the coin what about the features that are built into the car but not enabled.

    EG Dynamic light assist in Tigs up to 2020, horn on lock, change ambient lighting colours, Lots of things that were in some models and not enabled in others. Is it theft by the maker to not have them available on purchase.
    Is it? You tell us.

    I have a sneaking suspicion horn on lock is illegal or it is in NSW but my memory of this is from many years ago. My question still stands, is coding theft. I wonder if anyone has given it serious thought or even wondered about it.

  4. #4
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    Calling it theft may be a bit ambitious, as the features are in the vehicle but unused. If they were discovered ( unlikely) during a service, then the dealer may remove them . I think that is also unlikely as most dealer operatives want to retain you as a client. If however you serviced yourself, or otherwise outside the dealer network and reverted to the dealer for a warranty claim, you may then invite retaliation, and a reversion to the standard features. My policy is to leave these functions untouched unless you ask the dealer to change them. If you build a good relationship with your service staff, who knows what may happen.You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Cheers-John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suncoaster View Post
    Calling it theft may be a bit ambitious, as the features are in the vehicle but unused. If they were discovered ( unlikely) during a service, then the dealer may remove them . I think that is also unlikely as most dealer operatives want to retain you as a client. If however you serviced yourself, or otherwise outside the dealer network and reverted to the dealer for a warranty claim, you may then invite retaliation, and a reversion to the standard features. My policy is to leave these functions untouched unless you ask the dealer to change them. If you build a good relationship with your service staff, who knows what may happen.You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Cheers-John
    Dealers wont do it. plain and simple, I was told they are simply not allowed to do that stuff.
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  6. #6
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    It is an interesting philosophical argument, one country pays for a feature and another country has owners turning that feature on via coding. You have then got to ask why VW is taking steps to stop coding in its new model releases, the only answer is to stop coding and owners using features they have not paid for. I am ambivilant about the whole thing and am only asking the question to see if others have ever given it any thought.

  7. #7
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    Car makers seem to be trying to introduce subscription features to keep income rolling in over time.

    Here is a recent example, $80 / year isn't huge (and it comes free for 3- 10 years) but it's the start of things to come.

    Intel tried this before with CPUs you could pay to make go faster... discontinued that too.

    Shipping a product that has features disabled then asking for money seems like a **** move and I wonder how people will take that moving forward.


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  8. #8
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    Subscription in the automotive industry is so different to what we older buyers are used to and we think it is an appalling thing and one we don't want. I suspect to the younger generation it is a way of life as they are used to it via the internet, music, software etc and they won't be so fussed about it. What gets me is that companies and Tesla are the leader here force over the air changes whether the owner wants them or not. I buy a car for what it is not what the manufacturer wants to do to it after I own the damn thing. Teslas suffer huge changes over the model life and are not the car the owner bought for better or worse. Fortunately VW has not enabled the over the air connectivity in Oz but it can't be far away if they want to import the electric cars.

  9. #9
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    I don't see how it is theft.

    The features are in the car you paid for an now own. The manufacturer made the decision to manufacture the same module for all models of that car to save money, and you figured it out.

    I don't see it as theft at all.

    If the manufacturers don't want people enabling it, then they would lock it out on a lower model level.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by benough View Post
    I don't see how it is theft.

    The features are in the car you paid for an now own. The manufacturer made the decision to manufacture the same module for all models of that car to save money, and you figured it out.

    I don't see it as theft at all.

    If the manufacturers don't want people enabling it, then they would lock it out on a lower model level.
    Agreed, if the hardware is already there, you as the owner paid for it. Enabling it via coding is at your discretion then. To them it is still a win as only a very small % of people actually bother to do so.

    Also, don't put too much on VWA trying to get extra money out of it. Sometimes they don't even know exactly what is in the car from the factory. They likely also won't have techs turn it "on" or "off" as that implies a skill level that is beyond the average apprentice that make up 80% of the service staff around the country. The skilled mechs are generally too busy dealing with real issues customers have (including fixing the mistakes of the apprentices) to have time to fiddle with coding.
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