Even Italian consumers are attacking FiarPlay and the closed system for the protection of digital rights adopted by Apple. To present a complaint against Cupertino, in the wake of the actions of other European consumer associations and the recent decision of the Norwegian Ombudsman, Altroconsumo who has drawn up a highly critical document presenting it to the Antitrust Authority.
?For some time – * we read in the text (PDF) prepared by Luisa Crisigiovanni Head of External Relations Altroconsumo – we highlight the problems inherent in the massive use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems that are not interoperable in online music sales services with the consequent annoying obstacles to consumer use. The artificial barriers present on many platforms that sell online music require that you have certain operating systems, browsers and programs just to be able to access websites or read files. In other cases, the limitations are in the maximum number of copies beyond which it is not possible to burn the song or in the maximum number of computers on which it is possible to listen to it. Finally, problems can arise when listening with a portable player because the songs are sold in a protected format that many readers are unable to read "
In this scenario, according to Altroconsumo, the case of songs purchased from iTunes that can only be read exclusively by iPod becomes particularly striking. "Thanks to this technology – says the association of consumers – Apple extends its dominant position in the Italian market for the sale of online music also in that of portable digital music players, requiring users who purchase music from iTunes to acquire the special iPod player produced by Apple itself "
Altrconsumo cites the Forbrukerombudet, the Norwegian Consumer Protection Ombudsman who considered DRM technology that prevents listening to iTunes songs on a player other than iPod and the actions of other consumer associations from other countries of the contrary, contrary to Norwegian law. The European Union, such as France, Germany and Holland as well as an intervention at the European Commission, urged to verify the compatibility of the compartmentalisation of national markets operated by iTunes by means of the DRM and contractual clauses with the rules of competition in the Single Market.
In the face of everything, Altroconsumo launches a series of requests to the authorities.
The Authority for Market Competition is presented with the need to intervene to intervene urgently to check, pursuant to art. 3 L. n. 287/90, if Apple on the basis of its dominant position in the online music market, "is illegally subsidizing – says other consumer – the sale of its iPod players and thereby making a profit to the detriment of consumers who, if the DRM technology did not pose a barrier, they could – as it would be normal – freely buy the mp3 player that suits them best on the market ".
The Ministry of Economic Development Altroconsumo also asks to verify the legitimacy of the iTunes Terms of Sale (including the fact that purchases from the iTunes Store are only possible in Italy, the right to change the Terms of Sale at the iTunes Store at any time, the fact that sales at the iTunes Store are governed by English law) which appear to conflict with various paragraphs of the law.
Finally, it should be noted that the limitations determined by Apple's use of the aforementioned DRM technologies are not adequately advertised within the iTunes Store site with the consequence that a consumer can easily find himself buying one or more albums without realizing that you are not actually able to listen to them on your portable digital music device "
The letter, in addition to the antitrust and the ministry for economic development, is also sent to other authorities and government bodies: Pierluigi Bersani, Minister for Economic Development, Antonio Lirosi Director General of DGAMTC, the Ministry of Economic Development; for information the message also goes to Francesco Rutelli, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Paolo Gentiloni, Minister of Communications, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and the Media and Neelie Kroes European Commissioner for Competition.
Altroconsumo's action coincides with the open letter with which Jobs defended Apple's DRM system, declaring himself available to launch a campaign to free music from any type of copy protection system.
The topic is also discussed on this page of the Macitynet Forum.