Skype is technically illegal in France, and now the country’s attorney’s office is moving to enforce the law. Legal proceedings have been started in 2007 but have been on hold since the company closed its French office, operating its European service from Luxembourg, and are now revived with the company’s likely IPO in the second semester.Skype’s main offence is that it isn’t registered as an official telecommunications provider. Why not? Predictably, because this entails paying extra taxes. Telecommunications providers in France must pay a tax to finance something called “universal service”, which includes subsidizing fixed-line telephone and, get this, printing phonebooks and the upkeep of public phone booths.
When it comes to the internet, France never misses an opportunity at self-parody with obtuse regulation and nickel-and-dime overtaxation. For the record, Skype seems to be working just fine for now here in Paris.
(Via L’Express, in French.)
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