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View Poll Results: What's the biggest problem that France faces?
High unemployment.
6
23.08%
Capital flight caused by high taxes.
2
7.69%
Brain drain caused by high taxes and excessive regulations.
0
0%
Hundreds of cars being burned every night.
4
15.38%
Embarrassment from the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976.
0
0%
Bad hygiene.
1
3.85%
Amazon.com offering free shipping.
10
38.46%
Other.
3
11.54%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

French government prosecutes amazon.com for offering free shipping.

Old 01-15-08, 03:35 PM
  #1  
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French government prosecutes amazon.com for offering free shipping.

I understand why they have this law - it's to protect independent bookstores from competition.

But I think it's a bad law. The government should not try to pick winners and losers.

The article says that the purpose of the law "was meant to assure that the French public had equal access to a wide variety of books, both high-brow and low-brow, not just heavily marked-down publications." But since amazon.com sells every book that's in print, the law makes it harder, not eaiser, for customers to have access to a wide variety of books.


http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/...ogy/amazon.php

Amazon.com is challenging French competition law

By Victoria Shannon

Published: January 14, 2008

PARIS: The online retailer Amazon.com said Monday that it would pay €1,000 a day in fines, rather than comply with a court ruling upholding French limits on price discounts for books.

The company decided to pay the daily fine worth $1,500 rather than eliminate its offer of free shipping on book purchases, said Xavier Garambois, director of Amazon's French subsidiary.


"We are determined to follow every avenue available to us to overturn this law," Garambois said. The company appealed the ruling Friday.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of the company, based in Seattle, was equally defiant in a weekend e-mail message to French customers. "As unbelievable as it appears, the free delivery of Amazon.fr is threatened," he wrote in the French-language note.

"France would be the only country in the world where the free delivery practiced by Amazon would be declared illegal," the Bezos e-mail concluded, inviting consumers to sign an online petition. By Monday evening, more than 120,000 people had clicked in favor of maintaining free delivery. Related Articles Amazon benefits from music industry's anger at Apple Today in Technology & Media EU regulator and Microsoft face off anew Amazon.com is challenging French competition law EMI Group is said to plan major job cuts Click here to find out more!

Of Amazon's $3 billion in third-quarter revenue, about $1 billion came from outside North America. Amazon does not break down sales or active users, which total 72 million globally, among seven international operations.

Amazon's defiance has the potential to backfire. Amazon must pay the fine for 30 days if it continues to violate the court order, at which point the court will reconsider the fine and then extend it, lower it or raise it.

Cédric Manara, a law professor and e-commerce specialist at Edhec, a French business school in Nice, said he would not be surprised if the court raised the penalty, and that Amazon "had no chance" with its appeal.

The law is "really clear," Manara said. "There is no way you can read the text to find a different result. And the court would have evidence of the firm's deliberate will to violate the law." A similar law regulating the price of books in Germany does not affect free shipping for Amazon.de, Mantello said.

The 1981 Lang law was passed at a time when booksellers were losing sales to supermarkets and other new competitors. It was meant to assure that the French public had equal access to a wide variety of books, both high-brow and low-brow, not just heavily marked-down publications.

The law has twice come before the European Court of Justice and both times it has been affirmed. The law is not considered anticompetitive because all book retailers are held to the same standard, Manara said.

In the Amazon case, a union of French bookstores won its lawsuit against the company last month over the free-shipping offer, which applies only to deliveries within France on book orders of more than €20.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Versailles awarded the bookstore association €100,000 and ordered Amazon to start charging for delivery. The court said if the cost of Amazon's delivery reduced the price of a book more than the 5 percent allowed by law, then the sale violated the law.

Still, Amazon said it could triumph. "As a company, we are very passionate about this," said Stephanie Mantello, of Amazon's office in Paris.
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Old 01-15-08, 03:38 PM
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This poll [and thread] is offensive.

Just saying.

E
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Old 01-15-08, 03:46 PM
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It would seem that the law ensures the French pay HIGH prices for ALL books, not just the poor sellers only carried in specialty book stores. The idea that competition involves high, standardized prices to ensure high profits for the sellers seems uniquely French. Me, I LOVE free shipping, and HATE outrageous S&H.
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Old 01-15-08, 04:58 PM
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I remember when Germany came down on Walmart over the sale of milk. German has a law where you cannot sell any item for less than the store pays for it. The idea being that the short term good to consumers is outweighed by the long term bad of having smaller stores who could not lose money on products going out of business. That makes a little sense. This one doesn't seem to, however. But if you have to charge shipping, can't they make it super cheap, or charge shipping while reducing the cost of the books to compensate? What does that law actually say?
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Old 01-15-08, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I remember when Germany came down on Walmart over the sale of milk. German has a law where you cannot sell any item for less than the store pays for it. The idea being that the short term good to consumers is outweighed by the long term bad of having smaller stores who could not lose money on products going out of business. That makes a little sense. This one doesn't seem to, however. But if you have to charge shipping, can't they make it super cheap, or charge shipping while reducing the cost of the books to compensate? What does that law actually say?
That may confuse shoppers. I'm sure Amazon is thinking that they will make more than an additional €1,000 a day, so why not keep the free shipping concept simple and just pay the fine?
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Old 01-15-08, 05:16 PM
  #6  
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Amazon.fr offering free shipping is a current and real danger both to the French people and America. We need to invade, now! Vote "Amazon Offering Free shipping"! Unless you are an America-hating godless communist nazi liberal hippy neocon fundamentalist whacko!

[P.S. This post makes about as much sense as the poll]
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Old 01-15-08, 05:23 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
[P.S. This post makes about as much sense as the poll]
Those with uncalibrated sarcasm detectors thank you.
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Old 01-15-08, 05:39 PM
  #8  
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I didn't see a wikipedia article about this.
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Old 01-15-08, 05:45 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
What does that law actually say?

The law says that it's illegal to give your customers what they want.
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Old 01-15-08, 06:15 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
I didn't see a wikipedia article about this.

I just added the following 4 things to this already existing article:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing

Predatory pricing

According to a September 29, 2007 Associated Press article, a law in Minnesota forced Wal-Mart to increase its price for a one month supply of the prescription birth control pill Tri-Sprintec from $9.00 to $26.88. [1]

According to a September 9, 2000 article in the New York Times, the government in Germany ordered Wal-Mart to increase its prices. [2]

According to a January 14, 2008 article in the International Herald Tribune, the government in France ordered amazon.com to stop offering free shipping to its customers, because it was in violation of France's predatory pricing laws. After amazon.com refused the government's order, the government proceeded to fine amazon.com €1,000 per day. amazon continued to pay the daily fine, instead of ending its policy of offering free shipping. [3]

According to a March 31, 2004 opinion column by George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams, 13 of the 50 states in the United States have minimum gasoline prices. [4]
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Old 01-15-08, 06:31 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
That may confuse shoppers. I'm sure Amazon is thinking that they will make more than an additional €1,000 a day, so why not keep the free shipping concept simple and just pay the fine?
Mainly because after 30 days you can be sure the fine will go up to an amount that it no longer is easier and cheaper.
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Old 01-16-08, 10:26 AM
  #12  
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Great post. Can someone tell me about the wine tasting debacle of 1976.
I request that you add another option: People using English Words in France and the language police objecting.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Great post. Can someone tell me about the wine tasting debacle of 1976.
I request that you add another option: People using English Words in France and the language police objecting.
I think you might be being sarcastic, but I will try to answer anyway. Having read many of Grundle's posts, and with his propensity to repeat himself about certain topics I believe I can explain.

In 1976 there was a blind tasting of wines by a panel of French judges, and they selected a California wine as best tasting. I believe they banned blind tastings after that due to the extreme embarrassment and shame thrust upon the nation. To this day, France has never recovered.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:54 PM
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I think the whole country went downhill after the death of René Goscinny.
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Old 01-16-08, 02:50 PM
  #15  
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In 1976 there was a blind tasting of wines by a panel of French judges, and they selected a California wine as best tasting.
Thanks. I wasn't being sarcastic. I don't follow wine tasting because I don't drink alcohol.
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Old 01-16-08, 10:19 PM
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One of the reasons I included the wine thing as a choice is because I started this thread on it some time ago:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=465286

In 1976 blind taste test, French wine experts preferred American wine.

I also started this other thread a while ago:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=505131

'Two-Buck Chuck' wins wine competition

I just started this thread a few minutes ago:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=522813

Water snobs love tap water - but only when it's in a fancy bottle!
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Old 01-16-08, 10:23 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by bhk
Great post.
Thanks.

Originally Posted by bhk
I don't follow wine tasting because I don't drink alcohol.
I almost never drink alcohol. But it's not really about wine. It's about snobbery. You don't need to drink wine to understand why it's so funny.
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Old 01-17-08, 05:03 AM
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Sorry to come back on the original subject of the thread (ie Amazon offering free shipping).
The law is quite simple all books must be sold at the same price everywhere on the territory.

In such case Amazon offering free shipping on order above 20E is breaking the law by offering a discount on books. Quite simple really.
What they should do is not charging at all for handling & shipping for any kind order on their site. In such case the price of a book is the same on Amazon and at any (good) library.

On the other hand the funny thing is that most people will buy an extra soft cover book or a comic book in order to reach 20E and get free shipping on their DVD order. By not allowing Amazon to do so the book industry is shooting their own foot.

Anyway Amazon shipping cost are too often ridiculously high on Amazon. I rather buy on Play.com

Last edited by O=&=O; 01-17-08 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 01-17-08, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by O=&=O
The law is quite simple all books must be sold at the same price everywhere on the territory.

In such case Amazon offering free shipping on order above 20E is breaking the law by offering a discount on books. Quite simple really.
So competition is bad. What an interesting concept. Has anyone told the cable industry about this?
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Old 01-17-08, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
So competition is bad. What an interesting concept. Has anyone told the cable industry about this?
No, they love to compete for your entertainment dollars. Not that long ago I was informed that because of competition existed to provide me internet service; my bill would be increasing 10%.
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Old 01-17-08, 11:42 AM
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I would think riots and threats to the public's safety would be the biggest problem for France, but I guess it's Amazon. Who knew?
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Old 01-17-08, 01:05 PM
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This makes no sense to me... Why would amazon want to keep paying the fine? All they have to do is charge a penny or even .99 cents for shipping and be done with it.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:31 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by ANDREMIKE
This makes no sense to me... Why would amazon want to keep paying the fine? All they have to do is charge a penny or even .99 cents for shipping and be done with it.
Do you really think amazon cares about a $1,500 fine?

That's like threatening to fine Iran $24.99 if they build a reactor.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Mainly because after 30 days you can be sure the fine will go up to an amount that it no longer is easier and cheaper.
Yeah. Now that Amazon has basically told them to fuck off, I'm sure the fine will not be $1,500 for long.
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Old 01-17-08, 08:21 PM
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I think France...oh hell. Fuck it.
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