Discussion Digest, Vol 43, Issue 1

ab Iago Dafydd dafyddabiago at gmail.com
Mon Jul 3 15:05:44 UTC 2006

Hi from sunny Brussels,

> I hope that we will be able to come up with an initiative tackling this
> problem pretty soon.
> cheers JJ


Have you ever done anything 'legal'. By that I mean trying to get free
legal/lobbying help from an organization with partially similar aims.
For instance, there's Clifford Chance (a lawyer's company that
represents people like Novell, Red Hat, IBM etc in their fight against

Here's an interview with Thomas Vinje, the guy who heads up the cases
for Clifford Chance:


I know these people are money-minded. Also due to them representing
the corporate side, they ignore normal consumers, hence concentrate on
'silly' things like the MS media player bundling story (due to their
clients). But I'm sure they would see the relevance of ensuring either
1) an effective Windows refund policy at all outlets 2) the right NOT
to pay for/install Windows.

To quote CONFIDENTIALLY a friend:

>>>>I don't think 'my' lawyers do anything for free, though they do
take note.  Apparently we've had a few e-mails to info at e-c-i-s.org
(http://www.e-c-i-s.org/) from consumers regarding complaints, some of
which were of note (i.e. 'we didn't think of that' or 'that's an
interesting angle@)...>>>>

We don't have money for these lawyers, but we do have a network of
fairly like-minded consumers. We could also - via free software
developers and communities - try and motivate some of the clients such
as Novell, Red Hat, Mandriva etc behind competition lawyers.

Also we have ideas that they cannot think of because they are trapped
in a proprietary mode of thinking. For instance, if consumers (that
basically means Linux users/groups) survey the possibilities of buying
a notebook without Windows at major retail outlets in their EU Member
State, then we would have fairly concrete 'evidence' of systematic
market distortion and lack of choice.

> Therefore, I think they can escape the request to not preinstall, but
> they can't escape the request to allow refund. Refusing to refund the
> OS license should be banned by antitrust rules, IMHO -- and, at least
> in Italy, they refuse refunding whenever someone tries that path.

Apparently the lawyer Carlo Piana (of Studio Legale Tamos Piana &
Partners) is helping the Italian consumers' organization prepare a
complaint regarding the lack of choice when buying a computer (ie.
forced sale of Windows MS) and the lack of a refund policy despite the

Belgium's consumer organization also considered it, but I'm not sure
if they did that seriously.

We could also try and motivate the European consumers organization
(BEUC) to move. These people have lawyers...

How does FSF Europe work? I'm new only having started using Linux last
year (because it has support for Welsh and I lost my MS reinstall

Best rgds

Dafydd ab Iago
Rue Royale Ste. Marie 7/9 Koninklijke Sint-Mariastraat
B-1030 Bruxelles-Brussels
00 32 484 924 013

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