France Wants To Extend Private Copying Levy To Tablets… But Not If They Run Microsoft Windows

from the say-what-now? dept

Kurata points us to the news that French politicians are debating extending the “you must be a criminal” private copying levy to tablet computers — but, oddly, the new levy would not apply to tablets running Windows (Google translation from the original French). The tax would apply to any iPad or Android-based device, but apparently Windows tablets won’t be counted, since they’ll be classified as full computers, while the other tablets are in this new taxable category. Not surprisingly, this has some companies up in arms, with the French-based Archos particularly steamed, since it’s producing Android-based tablets, and doesn’t like the fact that its government seems to be giving preferential treatment to an American company.

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Companies: archos, microsoft

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Comments on “France Wants To Extend Private Copying Levy To Tablets… But Not If They Run Microsoft Windows”

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crade (profile) says:


“You can do anything on one of those tablets that you can do with any normal computer”
Yeah the exact same thing you can do on android and iPad – run programs written for that OS and hardware.
Whatever you think excludes Android or IPad from being a “real” computer could be written and released tomorrow if it isn’t already, or I could write my own.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:


I’d argue that they are giving preference to an OS rather than an American company. Windows 7 is a full-fledged operating system, although in honesty I don’t know where you draw the line between what qualifies as a “tablet” operating system as opposed to a regular one. Personally I’d rather not see any tablets taxed but c’est la vie.

Richard (profile) says:


Windows 7 is a full-fledged operating system, although in honesty I don’t know where you draw the line between what qualifies as a “tablet” operating system as opposed to a regular one.
But the tablets don’t run Windows 7 – they run Windows CE.

So Microsoft are actually getting an exemption because their operating system for tablets has a similar name to a PC operating system.

crade (profile) says:

Seriously, Im confused.

The great lie with these fee’s (in Canada at least)
is that they don’t allow the consumer to do anything.

We are paying to allow us to copy things we already own such as copying our records to tape, making MP3s out of CDs we have already purchased or recording the game to watch after work.
The giant lie is that no one in the country honestly believes creators deserve to get compensated again when we do these activities and the only thing people can contemplate they are paying for is the right to copy things they haven’t already fully paid for the right to use. The only reason we have any levy is because politicians make sure people don’t understand what it is for.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:


No, they ether run Windows 7 starter or Windows embedded which is Windows 7 slimmed way down but still fully functional (or just full blown Windows 7 depending on the tablet). Windows CE is mostly used now a days for dedicated hardware like ATMs.

Ether way, Android is just a specialized front end for Linux. That’s still a full blown installed operating system, so the exemption is silly.

vivaelamor (profile) says:


“The whole idea of remuneration simply because something might be used to infringe is stupid. If creators of content are to be subsidised, then so be it, but do not atempt to foist the responsibility upon those who have nothing to do with the infringement. That is simply bad policy.”

Kinda reminds me of the UK TV licence. They just don’t like calling things a tax.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Seriously, Im confused.

Shouldn’t that mean that you are legally allowed to place the pirated [whatever] on the media?

In fact, yes. It has created a ridiculous legal vortex here where if you have material for personal uses on leveed media then it is not infringement – however it is on any other media.

So if I download an album from an unauthorized, I am infringing – but then if I burn it to a CD (leveed) and remove it from my hard-drive (not leveed) I am no longer infringing. It’s rather bizarre and to my knowledge there are a lot of questions about the details that have yet to be sorted out in court.

crade (profile) says:

Seriously, Im confused.

“Heh – you only bought a license.”
There is no license. What you buy is a copy of a sound recording. What you are allowed to do with it is restricted by the copyright act, not by a license agreement.

The restrictions were in the copyright act because copying didn’t used to be required for regular use of the copy as often as they are now. The restriction was the default (you can’t make copies of anything for any reason ever period) and was taken out with the private copying exception (you can now make private copies for your own personal use, but not distribute them in any way) when they put the levy in.

joe says:

toys? yea, but not some GNU/Linux varients

All tablets are toys. The limitations are just sick. However some of the GNU/Linux variants potentially are a bit more functional on the tablets than the OS on the iPad and MS Windows variants. Free software is undoing infringement not encouraging it. If anything a tax should be levied against Microsoft and Apple because those who purchase have shown a willingness to use non-free software. Something they will have to pay for and might infringe.

abc gum says:

You Only Bought A Licence

The intent was to make light of licensing claims by the music industry. I have yet to encounter said license when purchasing a CD, so I guess it is just hot air.

For example:
“When you buy a CD you own the physical product, but you are only licensing the music”

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

toys? yea, but not some GNU/Linux varients

What is your definition of “toy” exactly?

Plenty of people are using tablets to enhance their productivity in all sorts of fields. A tablet is not the same kind of tool as a desktop or a laptop, but it is still a tool.

Just because you can’t see how one would be useful to you doesn’t mean they are “all toys”

Woadan says:

It’s an interestingly cynical logic at work here, but logic it is.

Android tablets and the iPad use a smartphone OS, while the Windows tablets use Windows 7 (or, previously, Vista or XP), a computer OS. It’s the exact same OS as otherwise, but with added functionality.

In Windows XP, it was an actual add-on to the OS from MS. In Vista and 7, it’s functionality that is turned off by default for workstations/desktops/notebooks. You just go to the Control Panel and turn it on.

Even though I think it is cynical, the distinction is being drawn around the OS, so there is a logic to it involved.

Wonder if MS was behind the distinction?

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