No, Italy isn't banning the iPhone
On June 23rd, 2017, a lot of noise was made by an Italian newspaper that said that our new Senate Act 2484 had the potential to "ban the iPhone in Italy" (here's an English article). That's just wrong. This is a "device neutrality" bill, protecting a principle every bit as important as net neutrality, and it won't ban the iPhone, but it will protect and benefit Italians.
The controversy stems from Article 4 of the act, which states that a
consumer has the right to use any lawful software (be it open source
or proprietary) on their own devices and no company can prevent the
consumer from doing so. Apple's App Store model does indeed stop iPhone
owners from installing rival software, and Article 4 covers this
practice and others. But Article 4 doesn’t directly ban the concept of
a “closed” app store.
The law only kicks in when two conditions are met: when there is a closed app
store and that store imposes unnecessary discrimination. The normal
remedy in this situation would be a decades-long antitrust action at
the EU level. The new law simplifies this process and gives immediate
relief to ordinary people.
Under this new bill, a complaint can be raised at the Italian
competition authority, the AGCM,
where it will be treated as a consumer protection case which can be
resolved within Italy in just a few months.
To be even more clear, if a software application can technically run on
a device, but it gets discriminated against or banned by the company controlling
the device for a non-technical reason, that would fall afoul of this law
and be judged promptly on consumer protection grounds, by the Italian regulator for antitrust and consumer protection.
This law is, in effect, a safety valve against discrimination. If there
is no discrimination, nothing happens. When discrimination occurs, the
case can be decided with simple and short legal procedures.
There's no risk of a shutdown of Apple (or Microsoft!) in Italy. As a
matter of fact, when Microsoft was heard at the committee of the chamber
of deputies, prior to the approval, the company's execs expressed positive
views on the bill. Apple declined to participate or to file a written
response. Google and Facebook expressed positive opinions as well.
We believe that this law protects consumers with a clear, fast way to
protect their rights against discrimination practiced by large
corporations, and resolve their cases in reasonable time.
Mur Lafferty wrote a science fiction story about the DMCA to help EFF's fair use for vidders campaign
Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule.
Wonderful EFF supporters keep on coming up with great new entries for EFF's Catalog of Missing Devices, which lists fictional devices that should exist, but don't, because to achieve their legal, legitimate goals, the manufacturer would have to break some Digital Rights Management and risk retaliation under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. […]
Humble Bundle Nebula Showcase: great, DRM-free science fiction, benifitting the Science Fiction Writers of America
The latest Humble Bundle features dozens of Nebula-winning and Nebula-nominated novels and short stories from past and present, everyone from Octavia Butler and Ursula K Leguin to Samuel Delany and John Brunner, to say nothing of Kate Wilhelm, Joanna Russ, and four titles from Serial Box.
Businesses big and small use Microsoft Excel for everything from data visualization to bookkeeping, and chances are you’ve already had some exposure to this ubiquitous tool. Whether you’re looking to improve your hiring potential or boost your Excel efficiency, the Ultimate All-Level Excel Bootcamp can get you Excel-savvy with nearly 70 hours of training, and it’s […]
The workday is long, and inevitably, you’re going to find yourself needing to take a break from the daily grind. With Mini Materials Miniature Cinder Blocks, you can take some time for yourself and decompress by turning your desk into a miniature construction site. They’re available today in the Boing Boing Store for $22.49. Handmade […]
Handheld radios might seem a bit archaic, but in an emergency situation, few things will keep you as reliably connected to the outside world. This Emergency Multi-Function Radio & Flashlight takes the utility of the tried-and-true radio and combines it with a powerful flashlight and self-sufficient energy system. It’s available in the Boing Boing Store for […]