Every now and then (or, actually, rather often) you come across a story which once again exemplifies why governments should keep their paws off anything remotely related to technology. It seems that not knowing anything about technology is one of the prime reasons why governments the world over fail so spectacularly when it comes to technology-related lawmaking. The latest in the series? France. My southern neighbours (I never acknowledged Belgian independence) are thinking about extending their piracy levy, normally found on CD-Rs and mp3-players and such, to cover tablet computers as well. However, tablet computers running Windows are exempt.
Levies on empty media are pretty common in Europe, and are instated as a government-imposed and maintained revenue stream for big content – you know, because for some reason, the content industry is special and needs to be protected against the regular workings of the free market. In other words, silly levies like this ensure that the content industry can continue to not innovate and to not deliver what customers want, which is vitally important for gobbledegook keyboard button calculator humpty-dumpty bazinga.
The French government, already big content’s best friend (well, apart from Obama and Biden, that is), believes such levies need to be extended to cover tablets as well. The funny bit? Well, this levy will not cover tablets running Windows 7, since those are classified as full computers – while tablets running Android or some other mobile operating system do fall within the new taxable category.
Sorry, but I think I just actually ran out of crazy. Good night.