[FSFE PR][EN] Italy: High Court shoots down Windows tax

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Fri Sep 12 15:09:00 CEST 2014

 = Italy: High Court shoots down Windows tax =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140912-01.en.html ]

Italy's High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free
software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica[1],
the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive
a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.

The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together
with a non-free operating system as "a commercial policy of forced
distribution". The court slammed this this practice as "monopolistic in
tendency". It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that
end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to
compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these
programs or not

    "This decision is both welcome and long overdue", said Karsten
    Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "No
    vendor should be allowed to cram non-free software down the throats
    of users."

Free Software Foundation Europe has been long been fighting the "Windows
tax", as the involuntary payment to Microsoft is often called. The
organisation maintains a wiki page[2] with advice for consumers who want
to avoid funding the development of non-free software, and accounts from
people who have returned the licenses they were forced to buy.

In response to the ruling, the Italian authorities should discourage the
bundling of software and hardware, and take practical steps to ensure
that consumers can really exercise their freedom of choice. Governments
around Europe should take the same steps, and encourage consumers
everywhere to install and use Free Software[3].

    "This practice of forced distribution needs to end," says Gerloff.
    "We hope that the Italian authorities will turn this ruling into a
    real win for consumers, and ensure that computer buyers can choose
    their device with any operating system they want, or none."

The number of the ruling is 19161 / 2014.

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 1. http://www.repubblica.it/tecnologia/2014/09/11/news/hp_perde_causa_il_software_preinstallato_indesiderato_rimborsabile-95533181/
 2. https://wiki.fsfe.org/WindowsTaxRefund
 3. http://fsfe.org/about/basics/freesoftware.en.html

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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