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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
AP News reports that French music rights holders may take legal action against Apple for unpaid levies on the iPod.

Hard drive players in France are expected to pay taxes based on their size. A top of the line iPod would be expected to pay $20 euros per sale. The proceeds go to musicians and "other rights holders" who may lose money to piracy. Similar levies are placed on blank media in other countries.

This report claims that Apple has no plans to pay the tax


macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2002
Muncie, Indiana
Pretty hefty tax... When is it supposed to be collected? Who is supposed to collect it? How much, if any, actually makes it to the musicians - and how much goes to support bloated burocracy?


Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
North Central Colorado
I wonder what would happen if I decided to just not pay my taxes this year...
I'd say "Hey - they didn't want to, so they didn't..." and point to this, although I think the IRS auditor might not care so much about the corporate precedent.

Anyone care to try it and report back? I'd do it (sure... right... whatever ;)) but I've already done my taxes for this year. Oh well - there's always next year, right?


macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2003
So, if the iPod was not able to play music, then it would not be affected by the tax law right? That is just unfair. It doesn't seem that computers are affected, and they play MP3's, or are they next?


macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002

So, in France, since one must pay a tax on all blank media, it's OK to pirate music and movies?


There are ....

There are now three certainties in life : death, taxes and this thread being shut down within 24 hours :)


Feb 18, 2003
I do not know what to think of seems unfair to tax a storage device because of a *possibility* of it being used to store illegally obtained material...does this tax apply to computers also?(which contain HDs). While I respect the rights of artists to due compensation, this seems to punish all for the actions of a few. I do not know the argument(s) Apple may use to justify its' non-compliance, but I feel that for now, they should pay up-fair policy or not. It seems ironic, as Apple is on the forefront of offering legal music downloads(although I guess ITMS Europe is not up yet...) What can you say about the French-I both admire and detest them (something I learned from an English upbringing) I suppose a roughly 4% tax is not that bad, but Apple products are so expensive already (especially outside of US)...anyone else?


macrumors regular
May 6, 2002
In U.S. too...

U.S. has a "tax" on media too... e.g. the stupid CD-R's labeled for "For Audio" versus "For Data".

Taxing media is stupid for multiple reasons... but if they're gonna have it, it should then at least be legal to "share" music and download it off the Internet.

blah. blah. blah, I'm sure these forums have heard this all before.

p.s. I'm an American who has no reason to dislike the French.


macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2003
Central NY
Does Apple have a store in France? If not, wouldn't it be the job of the reseller to charge the tax? The number of iPod's bought from Apple's web store by the French can't be that big.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2002
Austin, TX
Wait a minute

I thought big Liberals (like Steve Jobs) always insisted that the "rich" and "corporations" pay taxes above all others.

It couldn't possibly be that what they say doesn't actually apply to Liberal Corporations?!


macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2002
I believe Apple sent this tax payment well in advance, it was being transported on a Greenpeace boat but then the lovable french sank it.


macrumors regular
AP, *not* SFGate

Macrumors said:
SF Gate reports that French music rights holders may take legal action against Apple for unpaid taxes on the iPod.
Not to nitpick, but this is an AP story merely posted by SF Gate... My colleagues and I at the AP work hard to report the news each day and just wanted the attribution to be clear.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2003
Sayer said:
I thought big Liberals (like Steve Jobs) always insisted that the "rich" and "corporations" pay taxes above all others.

It couldn't possibly be that what they say doesn't actually apply to Liberal Corporations?!

money always seems to trump morals in business


macrumors newbie
Mar 10, 2004
Whats stupid

are comments like "freedom fries" and "effin frogs" etc. They dont advance any kind of intelligent ideas on the subject, which is Apple not abiding by the laws in one of its markets.

The questions raised by some of the more intelligent posters on this board are very interesting: any computer medium has the potential to store music, so therefore any storage medium could be subjected to this tax right? Well, the iPod is SPECIFICALLY marketed as PRIMARILY a music storage and playback device, while any old HD, while having that capability, isnt marketed as such. I believe that this law could therefore be fought in court and defeated.


macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2002
Of course Apple will not pay the taxes, the user will. We always do. This time, though, new users only.

> So, in France, since one must pay a tax on all blank media, it's OK to pirate music and movies?

I guess the case is similar to Spain's. Here a sick law states the concept of "private copy", by which it is explicitely assumed that each time you copy an audiovisual piece that you legally acquired and own (for example in order to hear a CD you just bought in your iPod), its authors loose one possible additional sale. Because of that, users, although legally entitled to make copies of audiovisual pieces they have BOUGHT once, have to pay a tax to the Spanish SGAE (Association of Authors and Editors at ) in the concept of author's rights, when they buy the equipment and media they are going to make the copy with. What is more sick is that the law explicitely states that copying foreign works is also taxed in favor of an association of Spanish authors.

The law, though, is very vague on expliciting the support to be taxed. I read once in an article describing the law (not in the law itself), that basically, the law's definition of taxable media covered every susceptible media of being destined to copy audiovisual works. Photocopiers, VCRs, tape recorders, audio tapes, videocasettes, etc have that tax. Only until some months ago, optical media was free of that tax (because it was considered, I believe, that it primary use was not that of copying copyrighted audiovisual media, except for Audio CD-R). Now CDs and DVDs are being taxed also, prices have rosen considerably and the debate has exploded. But if that interpretation of the law is correct (which I do not know), they are not adding tax into paper and pencils because they do not want, not because they cannot. There are other media (not exclusively) used to make legal "private copies" of audiovisual media that do not have a tax yet, such as hard disk drives (mp3 players, though, have that tax I believe), but SGAE has publicly expressed the intention to push for those too.


macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
There seems to be a fair amount of french bashing.. quite unfairly

Lots of countries have taxes on recordable media, including the US. Because the french have it, this makes only the french wrong?

Apple clearly think they are above french law.. which they are not. If you trade in a country, you have to abide by their laws, or don't trade at all. Whether the tax is fair or not irrelevent, you must abide by local laws.

I wouldn't be surprised if French order all iPods off the shevles. Then apple would rethink their position.

For all you US people... what would you think of an non US company refusing to pay US taxes? You'd probably say "who the f?ck do they think they are.. not paying US taxes" etc etc.

So, before French bashing, apply the apple case to your particular country and see how it fits then. Remember - you country probably has a TAX or levy on recordable media.


macrumors 6502
Oct 21, 2003
iPod vs CD

The iPod should not have to pay the piracy taxes like CD's or other media would mostly because you cannot copy music from the ipod like you can from normal CD Media. It is not easy for a basic consumer to copy music to an ipod, goto a friend's house and copy the music from the ipod onto their computer.

This is the reason apple made the ipod a 1 way transfer using the standard programs (iTunes). of course you can use 3rd party programs and hacks to copy the stuff off ... but thats probably against some sort of license agreement or something.

here are some steps to backup your iPod music (Use at own risk):

# cd /Volumes/<insert ipod folder here>
# mkdir ~/Desktop/ipod_backup
# sh
# IFS="
# for FILE in `find . -type f -name '*.mp3'`
cp "$FILE" ~/Desktop/ipod_backup
echo "Backedup $FILE"
# for FILE in `find . -type f -name '*.m4p'`
cp "$FILE" ~/Desktop/ipod_backup
echo "Backedup $FILE"


macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2002
Stella said:
For all you US people... what would you think of an non US company refusing to pay US taxes?

I think the only reason why Apple is in trouble is because of already sold iPods, because in the end, users (be them from the USA, France, Spain or wherever) are usually the ones paying both their own taxes (which the law dictates) and corporation's taxes, through a rise in prices or cut in features.

For example, lots and lots of DV cameras that in the US have both IN and OUT Firewire connectors, are only OUT in the same model being marketed in Europe to avoid this kind of tax we are talking about (since they cannot record input signals they cannot be used as a video recorder to duplicate copyrighted works). That stupid European law's intention I do not know what it is. Probably is either to compensate authors for lack of possible revenues, or a way to protect the European industry of audiovisual equipment manufacturing. In the end it is only damaging european end users.

But I do agree this is another debate not relevant to Apple's intention of abiding to the law (or lack of).
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