Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Japanese Domestic Auto Industry Protectionism

Earlier, I compared the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to criminalizing locksmithing as a protection racket for the automobile industry:
Even more draconian are the clauses of the DMCA which make it a crime to create or distribute tools that can circumvent DRM. If you do this, you will go to jail. It is akin to the government criminalizing the production of locksmith tools, and arresting all locksmiths. Under such a scheme, what would you do if you couldn't access your car because your key has been damaged or lost? According to the MPAA or RIAA, you'd simply buy a new car (or, at the least, a new door, doorframe, etc.) Why would such crazy laws ever be passed? And who would push for them? Well, if the entertainment industry controlled the automobile production/repair industries, they might claim that without such government protection, they wouldn't be able to produce as many cars and that a massive loss of production and mechanic jobs would occur. That is the exact argument they have used to this point in authoring, lobbying for, and defending the DMCA
Sounds ludicrous, right?

Wrong.

Japan has a protectionist system very similar to this. Cars older than 3 years are required to go through a very expensive inspection process each year. The cost of this process is such that it is actually cheaper to discard the old car (usually by shipping it to the Philipines) and buy a new one. The Japanese domestic electronics industry is now seeking similar protectionism. This type of protectionism is not very different from that afforded by acts such as the DMCA, or by overly permissive patent regimes.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I support your DRM analogy to locksmiths, the linked article on Japanese cars is incorrect and has become an urban myth. The inspection is not as draconian or expensive as portrayed.

Also, the electronics re-sale proposal was never implemented. Common sense prevailed.

By no means is this critical, just more input.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Japanese "shaken" inspection is not as expensive as we're often led to believe. We did our car about the most expensive way you can, through the dealer, for the convenience of it and I think it ran about US $600. Part of that fee is actually collision insurance for the next two years so it's not as bad as it seems.

However, the effect is as portrayed. The resale value of used cars in Japan is terrible. People really don't want to deal with the inspection and the cost and would rather buy a new car. Strange but true.

7:18 AM  
Blogger David said...

Very interesting article. Once I forgot keys inside the car. And I called a locksmith and he is also said that will come in 30 minutes, but he came in 45 minutes. Anyway I wasn't angry on him, because he help me, he opened the car in 5 minutes. So, the locksmith was very handy for me in this tight situation.

2:40 AM  

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