[A2k] Electronic books in France: No differential VAT based on the presence or absence of DRM

Frederic Couchet fcouchet at april.org
Wed Nov 20 02:57:50 PST 2013


The French Finance Bill could have been a milestone in the recognition
that consumer rights are indeed restricted by the digital handcuffs
referred to as DRM or, deceptively, “technical protection
features”1. Unfortunately, the Government decided otherwise, with some
help from the socialist deputies.

Deputies of the Green party (Europe Écologie-Les Verts) had introduced
an amendment to the Finance Bill, imposing a full VAT rate on all
digitally-restricted books.

In France at present, all books, whatever their medium, are subject to a
reduced VAT rate. The deputies had proposed to draw a distinction
between two types of books: those over which the buyer has full
ownership, and those which only allow consumers limited rights. In this
context, a consumer has "full ownership" over books which are released
in an open format, without DRM, and which provide the user with the same
rights as paper books (such as the possibility to lend, to read wherever
and as many times as desired, etc.) Only this first, “full ownership”
type of book would be treated as a true book, and would in turn be
eligible for the reduced VAT rate.

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April - Promouvoir et défendre le logiciel libre


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