Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Amazon: The law est un idiot

Per expectation, Amazon's operations in France have elected to pay the silly amount of $1500/day as a fine for continuing to provide free shipping to French customers. You know, this is how revolutions get started...

As the Trib notes, this fine will be reviewed after 30 days and if the government(court) really wants to penalize them the fine will be raised substantially and so will end this symbolic effort. However, perhaps the court will recognize the ground swell of support (after all who wants to pay for something they could get for free - even the French agree that) and take the view that this is a archaic rule. Perhaps they will be enlightened and lower the fine.

From the Trib:
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 anti competitive 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.

Stay tuned to this riveting story.

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