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France Demands Skype Register As a Telco

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the regulators-mount-up dept.

Communications 209

jfruh writes "Skype made a name for itself by largely bypassing the infrastucture — and the costs, and the regulations — of the legacy telecommunications industry. But now the French telecom regulator wants to change that, at least in France. At issue is not the service's VoIP offering, but rather the Skype Out service that allows users to dial phones on traditional networks. Regulators say that this service necessitates that Skype face the same regulations as other telecoms."

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As anal as France is.... (3, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#43153979)

While France has many many funny laws and ideas, many of which I think are bogus. But on this one IMO they are right. If Skype connected directly at the user to a telephone then IMO it would be a different picture. However, SKYPE acts on behalf of the user and hence they are doing the same thing as a telco, albeit not a completely telco.

Re:As anal as France is.... (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154401)

Let me just state for the record.
If France is on one side of an issue ...
There is about a 92.6% chance I am on the other.

Re:As anal as France is.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154547)

Let me just state for the record. If France is on one side of an issue ...
There is about a 92.6% chance I am on the other.

And a 100% chance you can walk around the end of the issue and get behind them.

Re:As anal as France is.... (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155157)

Absolutely - but I suspect this is in the 8%. And their cheese isn't bad either.

Re:As anal as France is.... (3, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155317)

Absolutely - but I suspect this is in the 8%. And their cheese isn't bad either.

They make good fries and toast! While many slashdotters have not tried it, their kiss ain't too shabby either.

Re:As anal as France is.... (0, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154511)

But then, shouldn't other voice chat utilities register as well? Text chat is only the equivalent of a tty terminal for the deaf to use telephones. Therefore text chat programs should register as well. Which brings us to forums as party lines.
No France should "want" in one hand and "merde' " in the other, then carefully observe which hand fills up first.
The internet was turned loose to the world for a free exchange of information to improve and enhance the species and our lives.
France should turn itself over to England, who seem to be sensible and close enough to babysit these silly pricks.

Re:As anal as France is.... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154623)

No. This is about a specif features. Features that are not part of text.

You are making a knee jerk reaction to France*, for some stupid reason or another.

How about you read the article and TRY to run your remaining brain cells together in the hope you might actually have a thought?

*the Us's firsts and oldest ally, btw.

Re:As anal as France is.... (2)

donaldm (919619) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154909)

The internet was turned loose to the world for a free exchange of information to improve and enhance the species and our lives.

I am not sure if that is the case. It is best to study a timeline such as here [webopedia.com] , however the most interesting thing about the Internet is that it grew before Governments could put controls on it. Even today Governments are still playing catch-up, however in democratic countries it is almost political suicide for any government to put legislation in place for tighter control of the Internet although that does not stop some politicians (you know the "Holier than thou" or "think of the Children" types) from trying.

Re:As anal as France is.... (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154949)

Way back when, BBS networks would sometimes let their modems be used by people to dial out locally. It's sickening that some government thugs are trying to ladle massive regulatory burden on such.

Re:As anal as France is.... (3, Insightful)

countach (534280) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155121)

Except that Skype facilitates incoming calls only, so they are more like a foreign telco than a local one. And because they don't provide POTS to consumers, it is impossible to fulfill France's telco requirements to be able to identifiy the location of an emergency call. At best, France's laws are out of step with the 21st century. Or else, no Skype is like a foreign telco, routing incoming calls, and not a local telco, which provides outgoing calls.

Re:As anal as France is.... (4, Informative)

xQx (5744) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155285)

So, we have those regulations in Australia too, and the sky didn't fall.

IP Telephony providers have had very little problem complying with this archaic regulation.

The clincher is that it's just as difficult to tell where a call originates when it's on a mobile network. You can, at best, tell what tower it is on. Not much use on a block with a high-rise apartment building.

With IP, the theory goes:
1. If the call originates from an IP Address that is fixed (eg. DSL) in location, give that location.
2. If it's not, but you know the address of the IP, give that location
3. Otherwise, give the billing address of the customer's service.

The problem in Australia is that the database isn't at all dynamic. You put the address in and in a few days it's available to emergency services - so, when someone calls from a mobile phone (that's not on the telstra network) or an IP Phone, emergency services get the billing address.

IMHO - If Skypeout is achieved by making international calls into France, then France can go jump. But if they've got a carrier interface (SS7 gateways and the like) inside the country's borders then they can put up with the same laws that the other Telco's in France (ie. their local competition) do.

Re:As anal as France is.... (2)

TheGavster (774657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155149)

I've always seen the legitimizing factor in telecom regulation as being that they consume a finite public resource, either in the form of right-of-ways for wiring or spectrum for wireless operations. In exchange for exclusive access to the resources and, correspondingly, a monopoly (or oligopoly) on the service, limits are placed on rates and otherwise economically inviable services are mandated (such as rural access). In the case of Skype, while they certainly threaten telephone monopolies which rely on dedicated wiring in a right of way, I don't see any limited public resource whose consumption needs regulation. An unlimited number of providers could offer Internet telephony service and not overload telephone poles or drown each other in radio noise (assuming that there is finite demand, actual load (customers) on should be the same no matter how many buckets they're in).

Re:As anal as France is.... (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155427)

I see you didn't bother to read the article summary. When Skype connects users to *actual land-line phones,* they are using the same limited publicly-subsidized infrastructure as every other telco. This is the rationale for regulation, not Skype's internet-only telephony practices.

Re:As anal as France is.... (3, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155187)

Except that they never actually had to install any physical telecommunications equipment. They provide an overlay network. It is a network that uses the existing phone and internet networks to provide functionality. They take advantage of the fact that communication over a phone handset is fundamentally no different than sending bits over the internet. An actual telecom company provides access to some public resource that they were granted stewardship over by a government (e.g. phone lines, fiber cables, wireless spectrum, etc). In some cases they actually own those resources. This just seems like another case of a European government trying to shakedown a rich company for money, (e.g. Microsoft, etc).

If I was skype I would just turn off access to France and let the people fire their politicians then turn it back on.

It won't be long before Europe declares wikipedia and youtube public utilities and start trying to extort money from them too

I am all for it. (3, Interesting)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43153999)

Especially since Skype out is more expensive than my current voip provider, they have the money for it and interoperate with the POTS.

Re:I am all for it. (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154063)

Skype out must be the most expensive VoIP provider out there. Plus it is non-standard, proprietary and closed source.

Re:I am all for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154231)

Skype out must be the most expensive VoIP provider out there. Plus it is non-standard, proprietary and closed source.

And it also (usually) works well, across (almost) whatever NATs and Firewalls and bandwidth limitations are between the users. Perhaps a bigger plus on video than VoIP, but then video is what I use it for and have tried alternatives for.

Re:I am all for it. (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154901)

And my provider enable me to have a toll-free number for dial-ins, have schedules, unlimited mailboxes with email forwarding, virtual receptionist, redirect calls to POTS or send to VOIP device and much more.

Re:I am all for it. (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154201)

You are right - I just checked mine (CallCentric), and their rate is 0.0198 USD to France, while Skype is 0.023 USD.

Re:I am all for it. (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154463)

http://progx.ch/home-voip-prixbetamax-3-1-1.html [progx.ch]
The one I selected I use to call my family living in another country. I just phone a local number and there I form the number. I pay nothing for the local number with my plan and then 2 euro cents per minute.
This however after a 90 days free calling after a top up. I always just pay 10EUR.
Some even have a 120 freedays. So each tinme you pay 10EUR you get to call free for 10 days to many countries, including your own (If that is possible)

Re:I am all for it. (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154293)

Yup. Even if you made 1 call a month my VoIP provider still beats Skype.

I had a call yesterday over Skype and I found the quality absolutely awful compared to my VoIP line as well.

Correct (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154001)

And they are correct. You tie into the Telco, you need to play by the regulations for Telco.

Re:Correct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154121)

But then isn't the answer to simply avoid a physical presence in France? Surely they can still offer competitive rates while hooking into POTS in one of the other EU states? I'm asking this because I'm totally ignorant of European telecom laws.

Re:Correct (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154171)

As am I; however most telco system have regulatory requirements, so it's reasonable that anyone using the phone system would also need to have the regulations. This is specifically about that features in Skype, not calls that are strictly voip.

I would suspect any Telco would do the same.

Re:Correct (2)

ADRA (37398) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154257)

You give yourself a physical presence in local markets because it IS cheaper than routing over an incumbent toll carrier. Take out your hardware, and the skype out feature would cost substantially more for the feature (which is why they have hardware there to begin with). As long as France's standards apply across all competitors, then I see no problem with this.

Re:Correct (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154373)

As long as France's standards apply across all competitors, then I see no problem with this.

I see no problem with it, so long as the original reason for the regulation still applies. In other words, what would be the consequences if Skype (or other VOIP services) were to NOT follow the regulations?

Re:Correct (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154647)

I think that overlooks the fact that the telcos would carry the burden for anyone using the services. That said:
You loose the loss of automated emergency services.

Remember this isn't about Skype, it's about Skype out.

Re:Correct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154903)

I should add that I don't really care what policies the people of France have - if they want to over-regulate, so be it. I'm in the US, and I'd be pretty sore if they made my cheap-ass computer-based VOIP thingy support 911... who would call 911 on that, anyway? On the other hand, I'm one of those weirdo responsible people who actually springs for the extra $1.50/month on my VOIP service for 911...

Re:Correct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43155167)

That's 2 indecipherable posts in 1 thread. Are you inebriated?

Re:Correct (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154711)

sure you can do that, and France telecom can then charge you long distance for all the calls made into their country. There are two issues here: you are avoiding the anointed long distance carriers (who pay off/into the government/taxes), and regulating an industry that is essential to life in most of the world (emergency calls).

Re:Correct (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154165)

And they are correct. You tie into the Telco, you need to play by the regulations for Telco.

Why? Skype isn't providing traditional telephones, they are using gateways that interface with the Telco network (thus are ultimately controlled by the Telcos) -- the Telco is providing the physical telephone lines, not Skype.

If a computer-to-computer call is not regulated, why should the computer end of a computer-to-landline call be regulated? The landline side is already regulated, what makes the computer side different just because it's able to call a landline?

Re:Correct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154221)

Because France.

Re:Correct (3, Informative)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154313)

Because both ends of the landline call need to be regulated. It has nothing to do with the computer aspect of it.

Re:Correct (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154603)

Because both ends of the landline call need to be regulated. It has nothing to do with the computer aspect of it.

And aren't all you guys cheering on regulation the same people who would cry murder if they were trying to regulate the Internet?

Re:Correct (3, Insightful)

currently_awake (1248758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154747)

I would very much like to see the internet regulated like the phone system. The rule about no tapping phones without a court order sounds wonderful.

Re:Correct (1)

quippe (767072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155207)

Because both ends of the landline call need to be regulated. It has nothing to do with the computer aspect of it.

And aren't all you guys cheering on regulation the same people who would cry murder if they were trying to regulate the Internet?

You are confusing regulation on the content (free speech) with regulation of the transport (access to communication).

Re:Correct (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154611)

Because both ends of the landline call need to be regulated. It has nothing to do with the computer aspect of it.

Oh, "Just because". Well that's a great reason for government regulation.

Re:Correct (4, Informative)

ADRA (37398) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154363)

Skype in this case is taking the place of an inter-exchange carrier as described generally in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interexchange_carrier [wikipedia.org]

In the US, these entities are in fact regulated, and I imagine its the same in France. If they're acting in the same fashion (but with slightly different physical characteristics), why wouldn't those same laws apply to them? If you want fully de-regulate the long distance phone providers as being telecommunications entities that's one thing, but applying one set of rules because its half tethered off the internet doesn't change the nature of what these companies do.

Re:Correct (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154441)

Skype in this case is taking the place of an inter-exchange carrier as described generally in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interexchange_carrier [wikipedia.org]

In the US, these entities are in fact regulated, and I imagine its the same in France. If they're acting in the same fashion (but with slightly different physical characteristics), why wouldn't those same laws apply to them? If you want fully de-regulate the long distance phone providers as being telecommunications entities that's one thing, but applying one set of rules because its half tethered off the internet doesn't change the nature of what these companies do.

I don't see it. From the article "An IXC carries traffic, usually voice traffic, between telephone exchanges." Skype isn't carrying traffic between exchanges, instead they are acting as a long wire from the point of entry to the Telco network to the end user's computer. The management of a large building may provide a long wire from the building MPOE to an office on the 55th floor, but that doesn't make them an IXC.

I think Skype is more like a CLEC (with a very large "local area"), but they aren't that either -- they buy their phone numbers and telco access from a regulated CLEC.

Re:Correct (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154167)

You tie into the Telco, you need to play by the regulations for Telco.

Good luck with that. Skype (or any other VOIP provider, for that matter) is too much of a moving target to need to worry about non-enforceable legislation.

Re:Correct (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154281)

The enforcing of this non-enforceable legislation comes with hefty fines to the telecommunications administration and a court order with its related costs and fines for non-compliance.

Re:Correct (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154229)

So they finally cannot tap into the conversations anymore?

Wow.

Now, if only they can force Facebook and Google into becoming official telcos. I mean, what is the difference between sending a text message on a phone to a bunch of friends, and sharing something with a restricted group of friends on Facebook?

Re:Correct (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154671)

Nothing, but it in no way applies.
Let me know when text messaging as the regulation for emergency services to know who is calling immediately.

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43155213)

Dude, 3 for 3, seriously?

Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (1, Insightful)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154027)

Regulations designed to protect the incumbent status quo, rather than serving the needs of real users, is the kind of thing that has kept France out of the picture for innovation. France must import their innovation.

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (0, Troll)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154123)

Regulations designed to protect the incumbent status quo, rather than serving the needs of real users, is the kind of thing that has kept France out of the picture for innovation. France must import their innovation.

As someone who was a US based IT employee of a French company at one time, I totally agree with this. While in general my French colleagues were good people and I still have fond memories of them, the word "arrogance" doesn't begin to describe how they feel about everything. Honestly, you'd have thought they invented every computer technology there was from the way they acted in our company. And while they've got a plausible cover story about why they want to regulate Skype, I strongly suspect that in reality France Telecom complained about how Skype is sending calls "for free over our domestic network and costing us money" and this is the real reason for the sudden regulatory interest. The relationship between certain very large French businesses and the government is under the table and quite probably in violation of various EU laws, but that relationship exists nonetheless. This is just more evidence of it.

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154203)

the interest isn't sudden. It started as soon as skype started selling this feature in France.

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (1, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154695)

Regulations designed to protect the incumbent status quo, rather than serving the needs of real users, is the kind of thing that has kept France out of the picture for innovation. France must import their innovation.

As someone who was a US based IT employee of a French company at one time, I totally agree with this. While in general my French colleagues were good people and I still have fond memories of them, the word "arrogance" doesn't begin to describe how they feel about everything. Honestly, you'd have thought they invented every computer technology there was from the way they acted in our company. And while they've got a plausible cover story about why they want to regulate Skype, I strongly suspect that in reality France Telecom complained about how Skype is sending calls "for free over our domestic network and costing us money" and this is the real reason for the sudden regulatory interest. The relationship between certain very large French businesses and the government is under the table and quite probably in violation of various EU laws, but that relationship exists nonetheless. This is just more evidence of it.

Just remember that under Napoleon, France got nationalized telegraph service and the ITU. Later, France got Minitel. It's not about importing innovation, it's more about having an orthogonal view on what needs to be innovated, and who the innovations are accountable to. Seems to me that France should really be embracing open source with open arms -- I bet the only thing holding them back is that so much open source material has already been created by dirty English speakers ;)

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (4, Interesting)

Solozerk (1003785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155383)

(disclaimer: I am French)

Seems to me that France should really be embracing open source with open arms -- I bet the only thing holding them back is that so much open source material has already been created by dirty English speakers ;)

The entire French police force is slowly but surely switching to Linux and more generally Open Source software, as are all public schools (although Microsoft did and still does try its usually dirty tricks to prevent that). The entire national assembly (main house of parliament) entirely runs on Linux, from Desktop machines for the députés to servers hosting the live feed/on demand videos. Open Source projects (originating from companies as well as universities and such) regularly obtain grants/funds from official bodies (and in fact, creating an Open Source project is a very favorable point to obtain a lot of those innovation funds). Strong recommendations have been emitted to use only open and standard file formats in all administration, and several projects for laws have been proposed to enforce this, as well as the use of Open Source software in all public administration (not sure any of those were actually passed, though). Skype is also officially forbidden in high-level universities and official research organizations, essentially because it is closed source and thus theoretically prone to potential spying/security issues.

Seems to me that France is *already* embracing Open Source with open arms.

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (4, Interesting)

mad flyer (589291) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154789)

This comment coming from the land of the porkbarrel project is pathetically laughable...

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154129)

The more people who start bypassing the moldy old POTS network altogether and communicate IP to IP, the better off we'll all be. For some value of "better off." The moldy old POTS network still has reliability requirements that VOIP and cell have never been able to provide. Most people willingly forego those requirements, so they probably weren't all that important, after all. Perhaps in the future the POTS network will be maintained by sewer-dwelling rat-men, who gain an evolutionary advantage from the system's reliability. Sadly they won't be able to communicate their existence to the rest of the world due to the system's complete lack of interoperability.

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155103)

The more people who start bypassing the moldy old POTS network altogether and communicate IP to IP, the better off we'll all be..... Sadly they won't be able to communicate their existence to the rest of the world due to the system's complete lack of interoperability.

And be replaced by what? The closed-source, proprietary protocol Skype?

Imagine that POTS is shut down and all that is left is a bunch of proprietary VOIP services, none of which interoperate with each other. Yeah, that's really a step forward!

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154183)

"Regulations designed to protect the incumbent status quo,"
false.. and delusional..AND ignorant, bordering on stupid.

" France out of the picture for innovation. "
Are you high? Or do you really think silicon valley is the only type of innovation there is?

Re:Why Silicon Valley did not happen in France (1, Funny)

crankyspice (63953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154223)

Ah, France. You’re so dynamic and quick to embrace change From the Toubon Law [culture.gouv.fr] to propping up Minitel [wsj.com] to the stoic way you embraced labor regulations aimed at easing ridiculously high unemployment by making the first two years of employment somewhat more flexible with your non à la précarité [pbs.org] movement... (Does make for decent wine, though, and likely will for centuries [memory-alpha.org] .)

Why Skype did not happen in Silicon Valley (1)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154731)

Regulations designed to protect the incumbent status quo, rather than serving the needs of real users, is the kind of thing that has kept USA out of the picture for telecommunications innovation. USA must import their telecommunications innovation.

Where does Skype connect to France's phone system? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154051)

If Skype has VOIP-to-POTS gateways physically located in France, they need to follow France's legacy telecom rules. If the gateways are located elsewhere (e.g. in another EU country), France shouldn't have any standing to impose their regulations on them.

Call Termination (3, Informative)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154551)

France can always prevent call termination on France's POTs numbers.

Re:Where does Skype connect to France's phone syst (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155037)

The two claimed purposes are emergency calls and wire tapping. The first is quite difficult because unlike landlines or cell towers, it's genuinely not possible to know with certainty where the caller is, and so how do you route the emergency call to the 'nearest' location?

In the U.S. the FCC finally agreed that sending customer provided location info to the call center was adequate but prior to that, the incumbents did become more interested in public safety than they had ever been before or since. I don't know the exact situation in France.

As for the second, it's a bit difficult to do that when communications can happen peer to peer and Skype doesn't own or control the routers in between. Just exactly what is Skype supposed to do about that?

2 words (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154073)

Rent seeking.

To expand: France has ran out of other people's money and people with money are leaving (75% income tax for high incomes? :) [slashdot.org] , so anything goes.

Re:2 words (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154211)

two word.
Wrong, asswipe.

Running a business that has certain regulations, it isn't unreasonable to want other people using your business to comply.

Re:2 words (1)

Arrogant Monkey (2818767) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154381)

That your answer to the RIAA and ASCAP's actions too? I mean, yeah I can see why it's "unreasonable" to allow other competitive business models have a chance to succeed. Hooray for crony capitalism and the autocracy of the ancien regime. Jackass.

Re:2 words (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154539)

Music therapy.

You both need it to take care of your issue and to learn about gov't regulations introduced now to stop competition and keep prices up, prevent (lower income) people from making income in that field. [ij.org]

But ifÂSB 1437Âpasses, anyone who wants to become a music therapist will face some onerous barriers: an applicant would need a bachelorâ(TM)s degree in music therapy from a program approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), at least 1,200 hours of clinical training, and 900 hours of internship experience. Practicing or calling oneself a music therapist without a government permission slip would be criminalized, with violators facing up to aÂ$500 fine and/or 30 days imprisonment.

That's what gov't regulations are all about, that and taking ppl for their money. Providing an innovating service ppl like? Ha, we are gov't, it would really be sad if you didn't pay up and something bad happened to your business.

Re:2 words (2)

digsbo (1292334) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154953)

You nailed it; non-productive people running a racket against productive people. Like the Mafia, but you can't legally shoot them in self-defense. Should we apply RICO to government? roman_mir, I've seen your posts, and I think they are pretty insightful, but I seriously cannot comprehend how you have the energy to deal with the legion that comes down on you every time. Right or wrong, I don't care - I just don't know how/why you continue.

Then Leave (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154093)

As I've said before...when a country tries to extort money from a company that company should threaten to cease operations within that country so call their bluff...if they are not bluffing then the company just ceases to operate.

France taxes the crap out of its citizens so we should have seen this coming.

Re:Then Leave (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154299)

"France taxes the crap out of its citizens so we should have seen this coming."
which has nothing to do with this issue.

But hay, just jump on your ignorant bandwagon and toot the crazy horn.

France's person income tax is 0% to 75%..not just 75%. and with Bouclier Fiscal I don't think very many people, if any, pay 75% since it needs to be 1.2million pr more with 2 adults. Not only to the France have a different word for everything, they also have a different tax system.

Perspective:
If you were a family of 2 adults and 3 children making 100,000 Euros you tax rate would be 14%

France taxes, in the real world, are on par, and sometime less then the US taxes..and they have more services.

And of cours,e saying ;'high taxes' is pretty meaningless.
What are the service you get? whats the VALUE overall

Re:Then Leave (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154475)

It's the mentality I'm seeing with the high taxes which would mean to me that they are trying to bring in as much revenue as taxpayers can tolerate to pay for those services French citizens get. I'd much prefer a civil discussion, if I'm wrong then educate me, but for the love of God please don't assume I'm a wacko, a nut job, or uneducated in general.

France seems like a nice enough place but why are you so defensive?

Re:Then Leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154631)

He's french.

Re:Then Leave (1)

Altesse (698587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154719)

... Says the guy writing behind the 'Anonymous Coward' placeholder name.

Re:Then Leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154673)

No need to pussyfoot around. You repeated some talking point you likely heard in the MSM without questioning it. He had every right to consider you uneducated. You left no doubt about that.

Re:Then Leave (2)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154705)

Because "French taxes are high" is oft-repeated, irritating, mostly-wrong, truthiness.

Is the French taxation regime inefficient? yes, but mostly because a lot of the redistribution it is meant to produce is in the form of market-distorting goods and services instead of cash. Also, capital gains are, like everywhere else, insufficiently taxed.

But the level of taxation is pretty much the European average. Higher than the US? Yes. Better value for money? Probably.

You mean capital gains (0)

boligmic (188232) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154793)

are still overtaxed - anything above 0% is overtaxed for capital gains. Same with dividends. The top tax rate shouldn't excced 20% - now I know you are a worthless pussy progressive who demands someone else pay for your healthcare because you don't feel like working, but fuck you.

Re:Then Leave (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154727)

France doesn'r relly have high taxes.

I am defensive for several reasons:
1) the word taxes has become a knee jerk scare word. Being further seperated form services. Meaning peopel talk about cutting taxes, and everyone loves it. A politician saying that the result is loosing servcies, and everyone villifys them.

2) IT's about value.

3) France is the US's first and oldest ally. The US would not exist without France. The general anti-france meme in the US is short sight, unfair, and based in complete ignorance.

Then when people say ignorant shit like "France taxes the crap out of its citizens so we should have seen this coming."
it just general irritates me. It is used to scare people. "You don't want to be like France, there healthcare means that are taxed really high!"

Re:Then Leave (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155293)

France has an immigration problem compounded by a relatively high unemployment rate of 10%. I put the blame on their affection for socialism, but that's their choice after all. But what say you? Why do you think employment is high when each person works fewer hours compared to their American counterpart?

At least they're not like Spain that clocks in at 26% unemployment. That's really bad!!!

Re:Then Leave (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154641)

Clearly ppl who are forced to pay the high taxes do not see value in what gov't is doing [slashdot.org] , those who get this as a subsidy think that for them it has value, but in the long run they are wrong, as their economy is tanking because of all the giv't. So ppl are leaving, even Sarkozy, the ex president.

Re:Then Leave (0)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154681)

France's person income tax is 0% to 75%..not just 75%

Whilst you try to impress us with your details, every good teabagger knows that the only thing that matters is the marginal tax on that billionth dollar you dream of one day making, on the assumption that you won't waste any of your vast wealth on hiring an accountant to minimise your taxes.

Re:Then Leave (1)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155327)

I won't comment on value, but rather just inject some harder numbers into this debate:

OECD National Accounts at a Glance, 2012
http://knoema.com/OECDNA2012 [knoema.com]

France taxes at a rate of (roughly) 51% of GDP and spends at 56%
The USA taxes at 32% and spends at 42% (2010 accounts)
UK: taxes at 40% and spends at 49%
Germany: taxes at 44% and spends at 45%
Korea: taxes at 31% and spends at 30%

France is something of a world-leader when it comes to both taxing and spending, especially least among developed nations. The USA is a big world-leader when it comes to government living outside its means.

Re:Then Leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154465)

Some people seem to be under the impression that services like Skype and Google are provided free, out of the goodness of their owners' hearts, and we should all be grateful for the opportunity to use them on whatever terms they'll allow.

Newsflash: these are businesses, they make a business decision to do business in each territory because they make money out of it. If they "decide" not to do business there, their revenue and profits will be decreased by some measurable amount. If the potential decrease in profits is greater than the amount the government is asking for, then it makes good business sense to pay up.

Finally someone stand up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154147)

It is about time that SKYPE and other VOIP vendor face the same regulations

F France (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154173)

Hey, that rhymes.

The whole point of the internet is the nodes are privately owned. Each node pays their taxes for local dial tone and the fact they are willing to pay the bill and some carriers have unlimited dial plans are NOT the business of F France.

Seriously.

JJ

Re:F France (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154193)

There needs to be an unlimited pay phone in front of every phone company. If you bother to go there, you deserve it.

Possible response (3, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154179)

MS not offering anymore "Skype Out" in France... Who's going to lose? Well, it's the worst kind of solution, in which everybody loses something and nobody wins (not even the French VoIP providers: the greatest majority of Skype-out calls happens just because the called is not online and the caller would like her/him to join a Skype-to-Skype session. A SMS - direct or via Twitter - would achieve pretty much the same thing).

I live in France, and see no need for this... (3, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154191)

OK, they brought us the Minitel. Er, thanks...

I've been here for more than 20 years, and have really enjoyed being financially fucked in the ass by the France Telecom monopoly, swiftly followed by the FT/SFR duopoly, and then Bouygues came along and, tada!, we had the same old...overpriced, underserviced.

Fortunately, after years off battling the well-captured 'regulators', Free has finally got things moving somewhat in the right direction.

My point? Skype buys its out calling service from these fine, regulated companies. It is not a telco in the traditional sense, so leave it alone.

Btw, not a Skype/MS shill, although I freely admit i have found it incredibly useful over the years, and it has saved me and my family a ton of money. Right now moving to Jitsi...it's getting there. (Waiting for Android and iOs clients, please)

Re:I live in France, and see no need for this... (4, Informative)

trainsnpep (608418) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154273)

Just to clarify for those of you who don't live in France, Free is a local utility with low cost plans. Cheap mobile (I pay about $25/month for unlimited calls within France, unlimited calls to 40 countries, unlimited texts, and 3GB/month at 4G speeds). Cheap at-home triple play.

Re:I live in France, and see no need for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154429)

That would be handy to know if you have a time machine!

Re:I live in France, and see no need for this... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154749)

It's nice to know that even people living in France can't fucking read the article.

They should ask questions about their own laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154225)

What is the purpose of regulating telcos, and is that purpose still relevant to the proper operation of telcos and in providing fair and equal services to the citizens?

In many ways, the way governments rule over technology is as outdated as laws making it illegal for women to drive or people of mixed race to vote.

Re:They should ask questions about their own laws (1)

slew (2918) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154845)

What is the purpose of regulating telcos, and is that purpose still relevant to the proper operation of telcos and in providing fair and equal services to the citizens?

At least in the USA (which I am the most familiar), the purpose of regulating telcos is primarily twofold
1. To provide "tariff-like" access and pricing (both for customers and inter-teleco, intended to promote competition)
2. To provide for the USF (universal service fund).
Of course, there are some other requirements: emergency 911, wiretap, etc...

At least in the US, Skype is not subject to these rules. although it is widely believed that skype can be "wiretap"-ed (well, not literally). Other than taxes, there's not much to US regulation.

As to why France is pushing this, well, it's not a recent thing, they've been saying Skype has been operating illegally in France since 2007, and that is the pace of these sorts of things. It probably doesn't hurt that now MS owns Skype and thus the pockets are deeper.

timing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154233)

features of skype out have existed for years and skype itself is an old (relatively speaking.. 10 years in its industry is ancient) company --- based next door in luxemborgh... but france didn't seem to care at all when it was some random swedes running the show, or even when ebay owned it.... but now that it's part of microsoft..........

This is why there are no golden eggs in France (-1, Offtopic)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154283)

The geese left in disgust.

Re:This is why there are no golden eggs in France (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155253)

The geese left in disgust.

It's France: the geese didn't leave they were eaten.

bogus headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154319)

nothing in the article said france "forces" skype. They are reviewing if they should consider skype a telco

more garbage from soulskill

no wonder taco left.

Obvious Course of Action (1)

vga_init (589198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154395)

The obvious course of action for Skype is, if the French government considers imposing regulations on Skype, to deny service to France. The French government is not powerful enough to put Skype in a disadvantageous position; all Skype has to do is pack up its bags and leave, and then France will be denied the revenue it was after and will also have to deal with a bunch of angry constituents.

Re:Obvious Course of Action (1)

Altesse (698587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154837)

Obviously you did not follow recent events where the French government forced Google to pay $81 million [bna.com] , or where the Free ips threatened Google by blocking every ad on their internet service [nytimes.com] . And after all, France is in Europe, you know, the union that fined Microsoft $672 million [newstatesman.com] .

and i demand france register ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43154663)

in my fag database.

Dear France.... (-1, Flamebait)

Charcharodon (611187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43154991)

Dear France,

Go Fuck Yourselves.

Love,

Everyone

plus ca change ... (1)

BenBoy (615230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155231)

This is pretty much how it went down all over western Europe (Italy, I'm lookin' at you) when cell phones did an end-run against heavily regulated landlines. Sure, you could wait 6 months for phone service ... or you can have this! Now it's euros, not time, but the song's more-or-less the same.

Tax grab (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155245)

Tax grab, plain and simple.

Yeah so they can tax the company to feed the govt (0)

betelgeuse68 (230611) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155323)

And also the socialist minded society that lives there. An excerpt from a new story recently:

------

PARIS - The head of US tyremaker Titan has mocked French workers for putting in only "three hours" a day and said his company would be "stupid" to take over a troubled French factory.

The letter from Titan CEO Maurice Taylor to French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg was in response to a request for Titan to consider investing in a loss-making Goodyear plant in Amiens, northern France.

"I have visited that factory a couple of times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but only works three hours," Taylor said in the letter, dated February 8 and obtained by French business daily Les Echos.

"They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!"

Goodyear said last month it was set to close the plant, which employs 1,173 workers, following five years of failed talks with unions.

Re:Yeah so they can tax the company to feed the go (4, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43155493)

Yet, strangely, people aren't dying in the streets from starvation and lack of tyres in France. If the "socialist minded French way" means a reasonably functional country, with happy people enjoying a decently high standard of living while working 3-hour days, why the f*** would I take advice from someone who lives in a country where typical workers grind through 40-hour workweeks (if they are lucky not to need 80 at minimum wage) and still have sucky lives?

FrIst st0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43155463)

from Withi8.
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