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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/pellerin-confirms-kindle-unlimited-illegal-france

http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/02/19/kindle-unlimited-ruled-illegal-in-france/

In a move that surprises no one, the government of France announced today that subscription ebook services, including Kindle Unlimited, violated France's fixed price book laws.

Laurence Engel, la Médiatrice du livre (the Mediator of Books, kind of a leagal ombudsman for France's book pricing laws), has released a legal opinion which says that Kindle Unlimited is not legal under French law. This opinion also applies to KU's local competitors Izneo, Youboox, and Youscribe, and effectively requires them to reevaluate how they operate.

Kindle Unlimited launched in France in early December 2014 with 20,000 French language titles out of a catalog of around 700,000 titles (now 830,000 plus titles). Its competitors had been operating for years, but the launch of KU brought the subscription ebook model to the attention of Fleur Pellerin, the French Minster of Culture. She proclaimed that it was illegal, and sought a legal opinion from Engels.

According to Le Figaro, KU in particular is illegal because it violates the French laws which require that publishers set the retail prices for their books.

To be clear, the subscription model itself is not illegal; a publisher could launch a service with just their own titles and pass legal muster. Another possible example would be a service which sold credits which could be applied to read ebooks in a catalog, or a service which let readers pay to subscribe to specific publishers (similar to premium cable channels).

Following the release of the legal opinion, the various operators will have a month to discuss the legal issues with the mediator of books, and 3 months to bring their services in compliance with French law.

Curiously, Pellerin told Le Figaro that self-published ebooks as well as books by foreign publishers would not be affected by this opinion, just books published by French publishers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
http://publishingperspectives.com/2015/02/bad-news-for-kindle-unlimited-in-france/

Bad News for Kindle Unlimited in France?

France is once again putting pressure on Amazon, this time through ebook subscription. Ironically, France's homegrown subscription services may suffer more.

Youboox laywer Emmanuel Pierrat argued in October 2014 that the French book price law refers to exclusively to the sale price of a book, or the exchange of money for ownership of a book, not for a license to read a digital book, which is what services like Youboox provide. Engel, however, disagrees with this interpretation.

Nate Hoffelder at Ink, Bits and Pixels points out, "To be clear, the subscription model itself is not illegal; a publisher could launch a service with just their own titles and pass legal muster."

Hoffelder also wrote that, "Curiously, Pellerin told [French newspaper] Le Figaro that self-published ebooks as well as books by foreign publishers would not be affected by this opinion, just books published by French publishers."

It seems that Amazon understands both of these points. Nicolas Gary of ActuaLitté writes that Amazon appears to be in the process of hiring an editor and establishing a publishing house in France. Through this new publishing company, Amazon could buy rights and sell its own editions at its own price via a book club model.

Gary ends his piece by pointing out a great irony: the French Ministry of Culture is using ebook subscription as a way to push Amazon out of the country's publishing ecosystem. However, Amazon is the only company that can afford to set up its own book club and skirt the fixed price law (as opposed to French companies Youboox and YouScribe). "The state has opened an unobstructed boulevard, where only American society progresses."
 

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Since it wasn't in France anyway, why bother.
 

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I have no idea why this thread title is misleading, since IMO it contains exactly what it says on the tin.

I find it kind of interesting that France decided take legal action against KU. Because when KU first started in Germany, the German booksellers and publishers association (who are NOT fans of Amazon) also wondered whether KU was illegal, because it violated the German fixed book price agreement. However, the booksellers and publishers association quickly realised that since they had been supporting homegrown subscription services before, suddenly going after Amazon would look a tad hypocritical. Never mind that it would also kill off the homegrown services that the booksellers and publishers association wanted to foster as an alternative to Amazon.

Meanwhile, France has decided to go the opposite way and throw homegrown services under the bus in an attempt to get at Amazon.

As for what this means for those indies who are in KU, unless you have French books, I doubt you'll see much of an effect, since most English language books get very few sales/borrows in France.

As for Amazon, since KU likely isn't profitable for them anyway, I doubt they'll take much of a financial hit. I also doubt that they are getting a lot of subscribers outside the US/UK. I can't speak for the French, but at least here in Germany we don't much like subscription services. Amazon even has problems selling Prime subscriptions, as evidenced by the increasingly aggressive advertising for Prime.
 

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CoraBuhlert said:
I have no idea why this thread title is misleading, since IMO it contains exactly what it says on the tin.

I find it kind of interesting that France decided take legal action against KU. Because when KU first started in Germany, the German booksellers and publishers association (who are NOT fans of Amazon) also wondered whether KU was illegal, because it violated the German fixed book price agreement. However, the booksellers and publishers association quickly realised that since they had been supporting homegrown subscription services before, suddenly going after Amazon would look a tad hypocritical. Never mind that it would also kill off the homegrown services that the booksellers and publishers association wanted to foster as an alternative to Amazon.

Meanwhile, France has decided to go the opposite way and throw homegrown services under the bus in an attempt to get at Amazon.

As for what this means for those indies who are in KU, unless you have French books, I doubt you'll see much of an effect, since most English language books get very few sales/borrows in France.

As for Amazon, since KU likely isn't profitable for them anyway, I doubt they'll take much of a financial hit. I also doubt that they are getting a lot of subscribers outside the US/UK. I can't speak for the French, but at least here in Germany we don't much like subscription services. Amazon even has problems selling Prime subscriptions, as evidenced by the increasingly aggressive advertising for Prime.
It's misleading because the thread title says that KU was ruled illegal in France, however the story says it refers to French books published by french publishers only. A thread title which says "Only French publishers locked out of KU" would get significantly less clicks - mine included.
 

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Mike_Author said:
It's misleading because the thread title says that KU was ruled illegal in France, however the story says it refers to French books published by french publishers only. A thread title which says "Only French publishers locked out of KU" would get significantly less clicks - mine included.
Yup - it's amazing how many authors can't read.
 

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I'm confused about the confusion. The thread title is the second article title.

I agree with "Daniel," in the comments from the second article. "The logic of the French minister escapes me. Since publishers voluntarily put their books into the subscription service, they are effectively controlling the “retail price”." 
 

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Kindle Unlimited Ruled Illegal in France

I am not an expert on French law, but I think this title is incorrect.

Kindle Unlimited Reported Ruled Illegal in France

That title is correct.

As I read it, the French Minister of Culture delivered his opinion. Does his opinion have the force of law in France?

In my state, the Attorney General may and, in some cases, must give an opinion on the law. But that is all it is: an opinion. Because he is the chief prosecutor and head of law enforcement, you can guess which way his opinions run.

Rulings come from courts, not from bureaucrats.

If a French court says Kindle Unlimited is illegal, then Amazon et alia have to do something in order to comply.

If a bureaucrat -- especially one who is a politician -- says Kindle Unlimited is illegal, buy your own bureaucrat-politician to say it isn't. (And if you think French politicians aren't for sale, you don't know where to shop.)

(PS I admire France, but not the French gov't. I do not say that French politicians are unusually corrupt. They are no more corrupt than the politicians in other countries.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mike_Author said:
It's misleading because the thread title says that KU was ruled illegal in France, however the story says it refers to French books published by french publishers only. A thread title which says "Only French publishers locked out of KU" would get significantly less clicks - mine included.
Kindle Unlimited that is currently being offered in France is ruled illegal. Other homegrown ebook subscription services too. They have 3 months to fix it.

Following the release of the legal opinion, the various operators will have a month to discuss the legal issues with the mediator of books, and 3 months to bring their services in compliance with French law.

With this ruling, Kindle Unlimited in France can't have any titles from French publishers.
 

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VEVO said:
Kindle Unlimited that is currently being offered in France is ruled illegal. Other homegrown ebook subscription services too. They have 3 months to fix it.

Following the release of the legal opinion, the various operators will have a month to discuss the legal issues with the mediator of books, and 3 months to bring their services in compliance with French law.

With this ruling, Kindle Unlimited in France can't have any titles from French publishers.
Go fix your title - no one has taken court action against KU specifically -

Your title could just have easily read "Scribd and Oyster Subs Ruled Illegal In France."

Or if you were determined to nail KU

"KU Banned From Offering Works By French Authors And Publishers in France."
 
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