back to article French courts tighten iPod tax loophole

A French court has ruled that foreign retailers must warn consumers to pay the country's so-called "iPod tax" copyright levy on MP3 players ordered online. The levy, designed to compensate rights holders for digital copying, means that an iPod bought from a French seller is about €40 more expensive than from an websites based …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So illegal downloads won't be illegal then ?

    So if you download music in France and put it on you iPod (that you have paid the tax on) everything is all above board then.

    Can this also be applied to say your computer. pay a tax of say 40 Euro's and you can download to your hearts content.

    Or........ have I missed something.

    How much of the tax actually get to the artists would be one question.

    hey, didn't this happen with blank tapes in the UK in the 80's


  2. Jean-Luc

    Crap laws that benefit only a few

    @AC How much tax to what artists would be a very good question indeed. Going by usual French govt practices probably enough tax to finance lots of cushy public sector jobs and give some dough to a privileged set of big name French artists.

    Whether artists who actually get downloaded (likely, non-French) or who could actually benefit (small French bands without the wherewithal to invest in the likely substantial costs to subscribe their snouts to the public trough) is another as well.

    We have the same thing happening in Canada and, basically, an unelected "society of artists" manages to push through taxes without public consultation. Small artists see diddly, because they can't afford the fees to get in. And copying mp3s is still illegal, though you theoretically pay for them. Bet our girl Celine is good by it though.

    It could be worse. AFAIK Germany levies such taxes on any hard disk media, regardless of whether you are going to be storing the latest musical wonders of Ashley Simpson. Or running SAP on them.

  3. rfrovarp
    Thumb Down

    What's this?

    Nice to see France try to control how businesses outside of their jurisdiction do business.

  4. V.B.N.

    Football propositions anyone...

    Does it not remind us of the ruling they were trying to impose on football association within Europe!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Companies that are exporting actual physical items to French consumers are not actually outside of French jurisdiction. Most significantly, the French government has simple legal recourse in blocking non-compliant companies from clearing customs.

    I'm not saying the law is either fair or sensible but, unless the EC declares it unfair trade practice to tax French customers extra for their MP3 players, it sounds like the sort of thing they can do. As far as I can tell, they are not proposing to charge any higher tax on the foreign-purchased MP3 players, so it's not unfair competition.

  6. Pierre

    juridiction. And tax.

    Well, that's more than logical. Imports have always been subjected to that kind of things. Try and bring, say, 3000 ciggies or 25 liters of Vodka in any country, you'll have to pay taxes.

    What is NOT logical is the levy. You pay for the music, then you pay a tax to be able to listen to it? Mini-Prez and his minions are trying to beat the US and UK at stupid, billionaire-friendly legislation. And they are winning, too. C'mon Brits and Yanks, put your acts together and pass an even stupider law, or you'll lose!

  7. vincent himpe


    zere are pieple zat baai zee epod outzide france .. quik quik , letz chaange ze leuw so we can get zeir monee too !

  8. Fihart

    Tried before.

    "hey, didn't this happen with blank tapes in the UK in the 80's"......No I think the first time it was tried was with consumables for CD Recorder Decks which only worked with so-called "audio" or "music" CDR discs.

    These discs contain pre-recorded code which is recognised by the deck but are otherwise identical to data CDR. The discs cost around 50p each (compared to about 5p for data discs) the difference partly being a levy for the music industry but largely due to the fact that very few of these discs are sold.

    Of course no-one in their right mind would buy a CD Record Deck for £200 which used media at ten times the usual price when a computer CD/DVD RW drive can be had for £17. No-one, apart from musicians who record their own music -- ironically they are the only ones paying the levy intended to compensate musicians for piracy.

    Just to rub it in, CD Recorder Decks have proved hilariously unreliable compared to computer drives.

  9. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Missed something?

    "Or........ have I missed something."

    Yeah I think the one thing you've missed is these assholes have an MP3 tarrif, but STILL want to hassle people for downloading the 40 euros of music they've already been forced to pay for.

  10. Martin Owens

    Condorcet much?

    I'm not sure, but this tax strikes me as being fairly similar to the patronage system that was rejected during the French revolution. You can't have the masses taxed blindly and some central organisation dishing it out to deserving artists. It's just too mechanically unsound an economic device.

    Also see Macaulay's speeches around the same time on the subject.

  11. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Aren't the French people funny?

    This scheme has 'le fail' written all over it.

  12. Jared Earle


    "Apple itself drew ire from Brussels over its higher UK iTunes prices, and was forced to bring them into line with elsewhere in Europe."

    No it wasn't. The price started at 79p. The price today is 79p. The wobbly currency market stabilised the price for them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    will we pay the tax?

    "Telling French consumers they ought to pay the levy once their order arrives is no guarantee they will"... Not Sh*t Sherlock!!! The main interest for me to buy a MP3 player (or any electronic goods, or blank CDs and DVDs) abroad is precisely to evade all the taxes we pay here!!!

    Posted anonimously for abvious reasons!

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