Not many people know this but rental out any products that contain software to customers (e.g. cars, computers), is illegial:

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988[38] (as amended by The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992 S18 – "except that in relation to [..] computer programs the restricted act of issuing copies to the public includes any rental of copies to the public"

The aforementioned words from Section 18 of the Act should be removed, and replaced with something that excludes programs built into hardware.

Why is this idea important?

Currently, renting out software to customers is illegal unless you have permission of the rights holder. For "normal" software (e.g. operating systems, computer games, office software), this law is acceptable.

The problem is, is that nearly every electronic device has software in it (cars, microwaves). This outlaws:

  • car rental
  • computer rental/leasing (even with proper operating system licenses, as the "bare-metal" computer does have a BIOS which can't be removed),
  • hotels with TVs in the rooms,
  • landlords who provide the use of a microwave etc.

In hardware, the "software" is usually "firmware", however in the EU Computer Programs Directive (91/250/EEC) which our law is based upon, it does say that "the term 'computer program` shall include programs in any form, including those which are incorporated into hardware".

This undermines our right to rent out hardware that we own. It is infeasable to ask every manufacturer of every single electronic device permission to rent/lease hardware, just because it contains a small amount of software

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