a monumental act of the French Republic — a measure so important President Nicolas Sarkozy ranked it beside “decolonization, election of the President by universal suffrage, abolition of the death sentence and legalization of abortion” in the list of national accomplishments.
However, implementation of the tax was dropped recently after President Sarkozy’s party lost disastrously in regional elections.
The idea of a carbon tax had been widely opposed by France’s business lobby, which argued that it would increase costs, as well as by members of the governing party, which opposed the idea of a new tax.
The French government hoped to raise $4.7 billion to $6.1 billion in new annual revenues to finance state-funded ecological investments from the proposed tax.
This is crazy.
Why did no-one propose enacting a carbon tax which was overall cost neutral?
To implement this – instead of just a carbon tax (i.e. an extra tax on top of existing costs) he could have
1. Reduced corporate tax by an amount roughly equivalent to the amount expected to be recouped by the carbon tax and then levied a carbon tax (overall take remains the same but polluters pay more) or
2. implemented it as a kind of tax break for carbon reductions (i.e. the more you pollute, the less tax break you get)
Given that the carbon tax was such a large part of President Sarkozy’s election platform it is odd that he didn’t attempt any alternative means of rolling it out. He has now effectively shelved the idea of a carbon tax for the forseeable future in France and he gives the appearance of backing down. Not something he has been keen to do up to now!
There is obviously more going on here that I am missing – anyone care to enlighten me?
According to CNet, it appears that the French have backed down on passing legislation which would have forced Apple to open its DRM if it wanted to continue selling music online in France.
The background to this is that all the music which Apple sells online through its iTunes stores has Apple DRM software applied to it stopping the music from being played on any device other than an iPod. France proposed to pass a law recently which would have outlawed the use of DRM to restrict the playing of music to specific devices. As the market leader, this would have hit Apple hardest but other online music vendors were also in the firing line.
On hearing of the law, Apple commented that this was state sponsored piracy! There was talk that Apple would close down its iTunes store in France. Indeed, it may have been forced to as Apple has more than likely signed deals with the music publishers which only allows it to distribute music with DRM.
Now, however, it appears that the law has been considerably watered down by the French senate. According to Ars Technica:
Most of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten. To see how this worked, consider the following examples:
Previously, “information needed for interoperability” covered “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information.” Now this has been changed to “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work.” But a “protected” version of the work can’t be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won’t be attained with this clause.
Previously, the only condition for receiving information needed for interoperability was to meet the cost of logistics of delivering the information. Now, anyone wanting to build a player will have to take a license on “reasonable and non discriminatory conditions, and an appropriate fee.” When using information attained under such a license, you will have to “respect the efficiency and integrity of the technical measure.”
DRM publishers can demand the retraction of publication of the source-code for interoperable, independent software, if it can prove that the source-code is “harmful to the security and the efficiency of the DRM.”
France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker’s popular iPod player.
Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.
It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management — the codes that protect music, films and other content — if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France.
“It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up … You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,” Vanneste told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.
What I should have said in the interview is that Apple may be forced to close the iTunes Store if this law is passed. My understanding is that Apple are required by their agreements with the recording industry to put DRM on the music. Of course if they did have to close their store, I imagine the sales of music for allofmp3.com in France would soar!
I muddled through the interview but if any of you want to hear what I sound like when the interview mike is pointed the other direction (it isn’t pretty!) – I’ll be on sometime between 6pm and 6:30pm I was told.