The French government, ever eager to thank the US for joining in liberating them from the Far Right, is taking Amazon to the cleaners.
France's Senate has passed an amendment to the “Lang Law”, a 1981 statute fixing the price of books, to prohibit online booksellers offering discounting and shipping books for free. After all there is nothing worse than having cheap knowledge delivered to French citizens for nothing. It is the thin end of the wedge, next people will be eating English food. (You call that food? Ed)
La Cinquième République and Amazon have been fighting over this issue since 2008. Last year, things flared up again when an amendment to the Lang Law preventing online discounts over five per cent and free shipping received the assent of France's Assemblée Nationale.
Yesterday, France's Sénat did likewise, meaning the bill is likely to be a law. Minister for Culture and Communication Aurélie Filippetti thinks the amendment is necessary to protect small booksellers from unfair competition by online retailers.
She also feels small booksellers provide access to glorious French culture while online book sellers only provide access to culture. She said that regulating prices is also good for authors. Clearly she does not understand that author’s will get the same low amount of money whatever happens.
Filippetti also signals she's willing to back the law if, as widely expected, European competition regulators tell the French where to get off.