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France to tax Apple, Android, and other non-Windows tablets

Rue Montorgueil, 1878, ParisFrance, which already has a tax on blank CDs, DVDs, and hard drives, is looking to extend the private copying levy to tablets -- but only on tablets that don't run Windows.

This little gem, which actually passed through the French government back in December, could increase the cost of tablets with 64GB of storage by up to 12 euros, or $16. The money, incidentally, goes to copyright associations like the RIAA and MPAA.

As to why this tax will only apply to Android, iOS and other non-Windows tablets, it all comes down to the French government's idea of what constitutes a real operating system. As it stands, smartphones are already taxed the same way in France, but laptops are not -- and as tablets fall somewhere in between, the operating system becomes the deciding factor. Android and iOS are smartphone operating systems, so they are taxed as such; Windows, on the other hand, is a PC operating system, and won't be taxed.

Ultimately, it all comes down to whether the storage space on a device will be used for playing pirated music. The crazy thing is, it's all one big assumption: you will pay your tax to the copyright holders whether you pirate music or not. Canadians, rather famously, have been paying a tax on blank CD-R since 1997 -- even if you use them for data backups, the recording industry still got a slice of the pie! What a mad world we live in.

Tags: android, france, french, ios, levy, p2p, piracy, private copying levy, PrivateCopyingLevy, storage, tablet, tax, windows