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.