Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, france, ipads, levy, piracy, tablets, tax

Companies:
apple



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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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Jun 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).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2013 @ 6:15am

      Re: Is it something in the water?

      France are generally anti anything not French.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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!

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

    • icon
      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 5 Jun 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".

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

        • icon
          Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 5 Jun 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 chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 5 Jun 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]

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 5 Jun 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?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Berenerd (profile), 5 Jun 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...

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 5 Jun 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."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2013 @ 6:01am

      Re:

      I wish companies would do things like this.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Jun 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.'

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

      • icon
        Wally (profile), 5 Jun 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...

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

      • icon
        Beta (profile), 5 Jun 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."

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

        • icon
          Wally (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

          • icon
            Beta (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

            • icon
              Rikuo (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

      • identicon
        New Mexico Mark, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Gothenem (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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...

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

      • icon
        Nick (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      Ed the Engineer, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      AndyD273 (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

  • icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), 5 Jun 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?

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

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 5 Jun 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".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2013 @ 6:21am

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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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!!

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

  • identicon
    Greggore, 5 Jun 2013 @ 6:40am

    Yep

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

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

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

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

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

  • identicon
    jackn, 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:15am

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

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

  • identicon
    bob, 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:19am

    usual OOTB trolling, knock it off, thanks

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

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 5 Jun 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?

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:37am

    Time to call them Freedom Pads.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2013 @ 7:47am

    Just say NO, Apple! You can do it.

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

  • icon
    Nick (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

    • icon
      Wally (profile), 5 Jun 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.

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

  • icon
    gorehound (profile), 5 Jun 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 ?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2013 @ 11:57am

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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ldom, 6 Jun 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 chronology ]


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