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|DRM in Cars Will Drive Consumers Crazy +||''"The problem extends beyond inconvenience. In plenty of cases, DRM has led to users losing altogether the ability to watch, listen to, read, or play media that can't be "authenticated." Video games with online components now routinely reach an end-of-life period where the company providing the authentication decides it's no longer worth it to operate the servers. That raises the frightening possibility of a company like Renault deciding that it's not cost-effective anymore to verify new batteries—and leaving car owners high and dry."'' +|
|Digital Consumers and The Law. Towards a Cohesive European Framework +||We have non-conformity (it may depend both on technical problems and DRM) if the consumer was entitled to continuous access but there are access problems, or if the digital content is not provided within the time necessary to perform its function. +, When – because of TPMs or incompatibility of formats and standards – the consumer can't access digital content or transfer it to another device and make use of it according to its ordinary or specifically agreed purpose, it constitutes a lack of conformity, unless, before the conclusion of the contract, the consumer wasn't ''“properly informed of such restrictions, and such restrictions cannot be said to constitute an unfair contract term, an unfair commercial practice, or an unlawful restriction of fundamental rights such as the right to information or the right to privacy”'' (HELBERGER p. 94); <u>therefore, we also have to examine the Consumer Information Directive about the information requirements, the Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts about unfair contract terms, the UCP Directive about unfair commercial practices, the Data Protection Directive about privacy, etc.</u>; in Germany, when digital content is protected by TPMs, it must be labeled as such, and, when it isn't, it is a case of non-conformity. +|
|I Contratti di Internet. Sottoscrizione, Nuovi Contratti, Tutela del Consumatore, Privacy e Mezzi di Pagamento +||According to Italian law (Italian Civil Code, articles 1667 and 1570), the body of laws applicable to those contracts between a ISP and a customer for the supply of Internet access is formed by the provisions regarding the ''“contratto di somministrazione”'' (art. 1159) and the ''“contratto di appalto”'' (art. 1655), the latter applying only when compatible with the former, and anyway in a subordinate position. +, the provider often assigns to himself the right to suspend the supply of the service in case of mere ''fumus'' of the existence of presumed violations of the contractual clauses he has imposed (clauses that are often vague and ambiguous). +, the contract often states that the provider isn't able to guarantee an uninterrupted service, which is an unfair clause. +|
|Payment Method Design: Psychological and Economic Aspects of Payments +||<u>We may try to apply this research to the current trend of the IoT market, in which - even if there is actually along-time relationship between the provider and the consumer - usually the payment is a lump-sum at the moment in which the consumer acquires the possession of the token that makes the service possible. Among the reasons for the business model chosen, there might be the consumer's ''pain of paying'': paying for the token could be considered the equivalent of a subscription, in which you pay once and for all, and in which therefore consumer's pain of paying is reduced. Businesses should thus prefer this form of payment, because - given that consumers prefer it, rather than pay-per-use (and also, as an intermediary step, periodical fees) - they will more willing to conclude the contract and subsequently to use the product frequently and for a long time. And - considering the fact that often the business model of the firm is focused on the collection of data rather than on the commercialization of the hardware - this kind of approach may be susceptible to foster a greater data collection. The problems are, however, that: 1) when physical objects are concerned, and consumers pay once and for all for them, they think to be able to use them permanently: even if the free paired service ceases to be provided after a period long enough to reward the sum paid for the hardware, consumers will claim against the supervened unusability of the product; 2) even if, unofficially, the sum is paid for the service, officially it is paid for the token: therefore, if the service ceases to be provided before a period of time sufficient to remunerate the lump-sum paid, nothing will be returned to the consumer, and usually the standard terms accompanying the product even state that the service could be discontinued at any time and for any reason. Someone may complain about the fact that, in the adaptation of this study to the IoT world, I have approached the periodical fees to the pay-per-use, considering the fact that - in traditional services - the opposite of pay per use is subscription (i.e. periodical fees; think about the flat rates paid to network operators). But traditional services have from the start been considered as "services", where the alternative payment methods could be subscription and pay-per-use (even in the world of contracts for Internet provision, where we have a service + a token - which is the router -, the router has always been seen as a tool to access the service); on the contrary, when dealing with the IoT, the products concerned are traditional items - which have always been subject alternatively to sale or rental - that suddenly become smart and susceptible of providing services: therefore, in consumers' view, the payment method consisting in periodical fees is not the payment method that reduces the most the pain of paying, because there is a further method which causes lesser pain, i.e. a lump-sum paid once and for all.</u> +|
|Unfair Contract Terms in European Law. A Study in Comparative and EC Law +||Because of the difficulty to assess the unfair character of a term on the basis of the general definition of article 3, there is an Annex to the Directive 93/13/EEC, which contains an indicative and non-exhaustive list of unfair terms (p. 4: NEBBIA states that those clauses can be clustered in four categories: 1) terms giving a party the control of the terms of the contract or of the performance of the contract (i, j, k, l, m, p); 2) terms determining the duration of the contract (g, h); 3) terms restraining a party to have the same rights as the other (c, d, f, o); 4) exemption and limitation clauses (a, b, n, q)). <u>Clauses J (terms that enable the provider to alter the contract unilaterally without a valid reason) and G (terms that enable the provider to terminate a contract of indeterminate duration without reasonable notice) may be particularly useful in the context of IoT products. However, pay attention to the fact that paragraph 2 letter (b) of the Annex states: ''“Subparagraph (j) is also without hindrance to terms under which a seller or supplier reserves the right to alter unilaterally the conditions of a contract of indeterminate duration, provided that he is required to inform the consumer with reasonable notice and that the consumer is free to dissolve the contract”''.</u> +|