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France Tells Apple To Pay Giant 'You Must Be A Pirate' Tax On iPads

from the this-again? dept

French politicians had been pushing for years to extend its infamous "you must be a pirate" copyright levy (tax) to tablets, and it appears that's now in place. Apple has been ordered to pay €5 million for all the copying supposedly going on via tablets. Apple pushed back, pointing out that there wasn't any actual evidence to support the premise that the iPad was used for copying music, but the court basically said "too bad" and "here, pay €5 million while we figure out the amount you'll actually owe:"
Apple argued as follows: the decision was not based on any hard data flowing from a study of actual use and merely replicated a previous decision applicable to mobile telephones, which decision was quashed for failing to properly carve out professional use....

[....] However, Copie France sought an award of a provisional amount, relying not on decision #13 but rather on the general statutory principle that such compensation is due. The Court agreed with this line of reasoning, noting that such principle was enshrined in both domestic and European law. It further noted that Apple, as supplier of the equipment at issue, was indeed the party that owed the levy. The Court thus fixed the amount of the provision at €5,000,000, to be applied against the final sum to be determined for the period between February and December 2011 (and ordered that its judgment be enforceable notwithstanding any appeal).
And, yes, technically, this tax is not supposed to be on "piracy" but on "legal copies" made, but everyone knows that argument is a smokescreen. The whole point of levies has really been to try to compensate copyright owners for copies they can't directly tax. And, while Apple will have to pay up here, you can bet this will end up coming out of consumers pockets, as always happens with copyright levies, which serve to (1) make innovative technologies more expensive and (2) build a giant bureaucracy where not much money ever actually goes back to artists.


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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:00am

    Is it something in the water?

    You know, with all the anti-technology articles dealing with france, it just boggles the mind how much they seem to actively hate technology, and seem to be doing everything in their power to drive companies out of the country.

    I must say though, I'm glad they are going after Apple for this though, a smaller company would have no choice but to just accept it or take their products out of the country(which would be bad to be sure, but depending on how large the tax is might be a better choice financially), whereas Apple is big enough, and has enough money, to fight back if they want to, something I dearly hope they do, as a ruling like this hurts everyone but the parasite 'collection agencies/companies' getting the tax(because you know not a cent of it will actually end up in the hands of those who's works people are being taxed over).

     

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  2.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:37am

    Stand up Apple

    C'mon Apple, just stand up, and tell them No. Stand up for the users. I know you generally don't view them with the highest regard but please do the right thing. I will reconsider my low opinion of you if you do.

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:46am

    GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    Furrfu. (I'm tired of necessary use of "sheesh" here so using the Rot-13 version as of old.)


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Gosh, don't ya just wanna peek ahead at the next exciting re-write? -- Well, you can see Mike's queue if PAY for the privilege!
    01:45:37[b-026-1]

     

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  4.  
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    Rekrul, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    If I were Apple;

    "Here's your 5 million. Effective immediately, Apple products and services will no longer be available in France. Have a nice day."

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:58am

    Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    If rational thought was a virus, you'd be disease-free.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    Re:

    I wish companies would do things like this.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    Nah, in their shoes I'd make it a little more blunt.

    'Effective immediately, Apple products and services will no longer be available in France due to your actions, a fact that we will be sure to let all of our most rabid followers know. If you would like us, and the taxes we pay, to return to your country, a tax break of say, 10 million will be required to entice us to return.'

     

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  8.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    > GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    Using that logic, then why should it be so bad to have statutory damages for bogus DMCA takedowns? After all, what's a $150,000 per defective DMCA notice compared to Hollywood's billions and billions?

     

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  9.  
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    Gothenem (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    Honestly, I wish these multinational corporations would do this. Apple, Google, et. all could literally drive France back 30 years by saying "We are not going to pay your extortion fee, and so we are pulling out of your country until you eliminate it."

    Faced with an angry public that can no longer enjoy what other countries have, the french government would have no choice but to concede. Sure, some companies may try to fill in the vacuum, but the public wants what the public wants, and if the French government is driving these businesses away, the people will let them know what they think. I hope those politicians have ALOT of money come election time, because they will literally have to pay people directly to vote for them.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:15am

    Re: Is it something in the water?

    France are generally anti anything not French.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re:

    If apple cave in, others will follow to carve a piece for themselves.
    See how well worked it out for google: newspapers, ISPs, ISPs again

     

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  12.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    The French are fairly loopy though.

    Just recently they have decided to give 9 million Euros to help failing book retailers fight against the "destroyer of bookshops", Amazon.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/04/british-booksellers-seek-amazon-curb

    This is as bad as pledging billions to bail out failing banks. Do politicians ever learn?

     

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  13.  
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    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re:

    ": a tax break of say, 10 million will be required to entice us to return.' "

    The one and only problem I have with this is that Copyright France asked this of Google too. Apple just has the sense to fight back against it. It is not unreasonable to protest unnecessary taxes and in my humble legal opinion, It is the duty of all American entities and citizens to fight back against taxes that are as arbitrary as the one France wishes to impose against Apple. They not only want to impose a tax APPLE and GOOGLE for things YOU download onto YOUR iPad...they also want to tax Apple and Google because you can rip your own music to Apple and Google devices...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    If the Ipad users are pirates, the collection agencies are privateers. The difference, the collection agency depredation are sanctioned by government.

     

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  15.  
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    Ed the Engineer, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    Yes Please. I so wish they would. EU seems determined to fine US companies, I would love to see some real push back.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:31am

    Schadenfreude

    I would pay money to watch the first bunch of German tourists surfing on their iPads in public in iPad-free Paris.

     

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  17.  
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    Beta (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re:

    How about:

    "...a tax break of €10M, plus an amount we will determine later to cover the costs of pulling up stakes, then returning."

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:40am

    these 'taxes' would not exist if it were not for the closeness that exists between governments and the entertainment industries. i am surprised that this closeness seems to exist in all supposed democratic nations. it must then follow that the amount of money these industries pay out in bribes, because if there were no gains for politicians in the governments that keep molly coddling the industries, there would be no propping up of the industries done, must be pretty substantial. i would have thought much more than is gleaned back in all forms, from all places. that then leads to the question of why is it done in the first place? that then leads to the answer being, surely, if it isn't the money, it has to be the control and the propping up of egos within the industries. failing that, the only other option i can think of is that the governments themselves are/will be getting something from the industries and that can only be the chance of using the surveillance that will be present via living room consoles (media streamers) that have in-built cameras and microphones, as well as movement censors and touch screens that will be conveying any and all information back to the likes of Microsoft, Sony etc who will then be giving it to law enforcement. crazy, you say? wont have long to wait!!

     

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  19.  
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    Greggore, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:40am

    Yep

    The French are just be...let's say...French

     

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  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Wolfy, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    If France were so superior, we wouldn't have had to rescue them from the Germans.

     

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  21.  
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    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not one bit related to the situation at hand. The tax is being imposed to prevent "piracy" of iOS office apps. That is EXACTLY why Apple should fight this tax asked of them.

     

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  22.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re:

    You forgot...

    and (with apologies to other French language areas) we will be removing all French language support from all existing Apple products. If this offends you, please address your complaints to the appropriate authorities in France while we figure out the overall costs for them to purchase a clue.

    While I'm anti-proprietary hardware/software in the first place, if people are dumb enough to pay for it, consequences like this should be expected.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:55am

    Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    Any amount to be paid which essentially says "you must be a criminal" is huge.

     

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  24.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, that would be going too far, punishing those people and countries that have french as their main or only language for no other reason than speaking it. Punishing the government for unfairly going after a company like this is one thing, but punishing innocent bystanders like that is anything but acceptable.

     

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  25.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "innocent bystanders"

    Who speak French??? I think not! :)

     

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  26.  
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    Beta (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How would this tax prevent piracy, even in theory, except by driving Apple out of France?

    Apple should fight this no matter what its ostensible purpose, whether to prevent piracy, supress cultural corruption or save the Tridacna clam.

     

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  27.  
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    Ferel (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    If only rational thought was highly infectious...

     

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  28.  
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    jackn, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    Apple should have pointed out that there isn't any french music worth copying..

     

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  29.  
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    bob, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    usual OOTB trolling, knock it off, thanks

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    The 5 million is just the downpayment, while they wait for the full sum to be calculated.

    Reading the full post helps.

     

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  31.  
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    Bt Garner (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    So, France feels that it can now retro-actively tell apple to pay 5 million Euros.... I wonder what the outcry from the French government would be if Apple came back and charged all its French consumers their fair portion of the final bill?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    as it is he's full o teh syph

     

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  33.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    If you were so superior, you wouldn't have waited three years and until Germany declared war on *you* to even think of moving your arses to 'help'. You profited nicely off it all too!

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Is it something in the water?

    Exactly! France is known for their complete disregard for "free market" as a tool.

    It is also reflected in the people: I saw a recent poll where French people found the people of France to be most arrogant and least arrogant in europe. That is a huge ego, if you ask me!

     

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  35.  
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    Pixelation, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Time to call them Freedom Pads.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re:

    France will never concede. It is simply part of their nature to fight against anyone on anything. "Non" is a word you need to know "oui" is too rare to be relevant...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Schadenfreude

    It wouldn't be iPad-free. Most frogs will travel remarkably far to get to a good lake.

     

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  38.  
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    Pragmatic, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    That's because they've bought into that ACTA guff about IPR creating and maintaining jobs. Okay, I'll concede that it does: in registration and enforcement agencies, not creative or innovative industries.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Just say NO, Apple! You can do it.

     

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  40.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mr French Government Man (FGM) sees kid at internet cafe download a bunch of mp3 songs off of Piratebay and load them onto his iPhone.

    FGM : "Sacre-bleu! Apple, give us millions of monies! Piracy!"

    Kid meanwhile turns to look, shrugs, and continues to download. After all, he's not the one paying the massive fine. Someone completely unrelated to him is.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    Still wouldn't matter. Ootb is immune.

     

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  42.  
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    Nick (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Don't worry. Apple can just take that 5 million from the billions they have stored in Ireland they use to avoid paying taxes to the U.S.

     

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  43.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Re: Is it something in the water?

    whereas Apple is big enough, and has enough money, to fight back if they want to
    Would that that were true, but I can't see them wanting to. That kind of money is spare change to Apple and is also rather less than the cost of the gazillion lawyers they'd pay to fight it (which probably had something to do with the figure chosen to claim for). Add to that the fact that they'll simply pass the cost on to consumers so they come out ahead anyway and why would they even want to fight it?

    I'd say this is classic French (and it is), but none of the western governments think any different having been comprehensively bullied and brainwashed for decades by the US government on behalf of the "copyright industries".

     

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  44.  
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    Nick (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Such as a large chunk of Canada...

     

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  45.  
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    Nick (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re:

    As scary a number 5 million may seem, they make a lot more than that just operating there. If they were to pull out, they would lose a lot more than that just to protest a small amount. Unless they could get a lot more removed, or some were recurring, it wouldn't be worth it.

    It's worth calling attention to it, and publicizing it, but actually doing something about such a paltry sum isn't worth doing.

     

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  46.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Do politicians ever learn?
    Yes, if you pay them enough to do so... Now all we need is someone unfeasibly altruistic with billions spare to "educate" them. Sadly it turns out such "people" are rapacious corporations for whom "altruistic" means "We get really good tax breaks for doing charitable stuff".

     

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  47.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    So you are gonna pay my rent for me? Great! I mean..you feel its ok for you to pay for something that has nothing to do for you and with all the money you make, you obviously can afford it...

     

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  48.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Is it something in the water?

    Well one motivation to fight would be google's example, where it was shown that if you pay up even once, suddenly everyone wants a cut of your profits, so it's in their best long-term interests to not look like an easy target and fight.

     

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  49.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, they are kinda crazy up there, and it's only the presence of the warfare simulator known as 'hockey' that keeps them docile, rather than invading everyone else and forcing them to say 'ey?' after every sentence.

    Probably has something to do with the cold. Or penguins, one of the two.

     

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  50.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    5 million is just the downpayment, while the government figures out how much they can get away with asking for, and when 5 million is considered 'just the start' for how much a company owes, you know the final total is going to be significantly higher.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wrong hemisphere for penguins, but they do have polar bears.:-)

     

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  52.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    America's Hat, don'cha know...

     

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  53.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    Depends on how you feel about accordions. And Charles Aznavour.

     

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  54.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    if America were so superior, its populace wouldn't have such a wildly inaccurate and jingoistic understanding of WW2

     

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  55.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's America's Toque, thank you very much ;)

     

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  56.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    The Maginot Line

    German or Russian. Take your pick.

    Those are your choices without US involvement in WWII (tardy or not).

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re:

    Interesting to see that you have the ability to immediately censor posts...

     

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  58.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Heh. I'm not even one of the people who clicked report on that post. Paranoid much?

     

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  59.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    Re: The Maginot Line

    Hey, I'm not saying the US didn't play a major role, just that it aint so simple. For example:

    German or German. Take your pick. Those are your choices without Russian involvement in WWII (scary or not).

     

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  60.  
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    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah...I think beta missed the quotation marks I used....

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: GIANT? FIVE MILLION EUROS IS "GIANT" TO APPLE'S BILLIONS?

    Billions and billions?

    Haven't you heard? Hollywood makes no profit at all!

     

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  62.  
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    AndyD273 (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    "In light of your unreasonable demands, we are pulling out of France. Come check out our great Apple stores convenently located just across the border for all our quality products! Only a short train ride away!"

    There is an Apple store in Geneva which is pretty convenient, and the Swiss seem to be pretty cool about stuff, at least from the lack of bad news about them.

     

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  63.  
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    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    So Google...who is currently making more than Apple...should pay that tax too because users of Android devices are "dirty little pirates" according to the French Gvt.? I mean after all...according to the French Gvt....ripping the CD's you own and putting them on a mobile device is definitely defining you as a pirate.

     

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  64.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Viva Le Revolution ! Apple should pull out of France and see what that action does.I am thinking that with the amount of people buying these Apple Ipads, ETC a move like that will open the Common Frenchman's Eyes.
    Maybe....Maybe not ?

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    As much as I really hate apple... I say, let's put France back to the flintstones era.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

    Re: The Maginot Line

    Well, I'm American, and I still found his post to be idiotic and misinformed. So, what's your point?

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Bizarre

    «And, yes, technically, this tax is not supposed to be on "piracy" but on "legal copies" made, but everyone knows that argument is a smokescreen.»

    Which just makes it all the more bizarre. I can't get my head around how they think charging extra for content that has already been paid for would somehow be more OK than charging for alleged piracy.

    With piracy, they have a sob story that some people sympathise with. But who the hell is fine with having to pay extra for something that has already been legally purchased?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Is it something in the water?

    so it's in their best long-term interests
    Well maybe I'm a cynic (well I am but I meant in this case...), but neither corporations nor governments seem to recognise "long term" as part of a valid strategy. After all, most of the evidence seems to point to free-er markets being better for both increasing innovation/progress and the profits available in a sector, but governments have been systematically locking down markets on behalf of corporations for decades...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes because killing Jews is a good thing and Hitler was a good man for it right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We use linux here as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Depends on how you feel about accordions. And Charles Aznavour.

    And Jean-Michel Jarre.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Ldom, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 4:31am

    not against Apple

    This tax is a big scandal and is not just against Apple. It's the result of years of lobbying from the music and movie majors. The tax rate is proposed by a commission that is pretty much only composed of interested parties.

    As a Frenchman, I'm really sick of it and in general our politicians just don't understand the digital world. This is one more example of this sad situation.

    Cheers,
    Laurent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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