French Senate passes anti-Amazon amendment

Free shipping with discounting banned in la Cinquième République

France's Senate has passed an amendment to the “Lang Law”, a 1981 statute fixing the price of books, to prohibit online booksellers offering discounting and shipping books for free.

La Cinquième République and Amazon have been fighting over this issue since 2008. Last year, things flared up again when an amendment to the Lang Law preventing online discounts over five per cent and free shipping received the assent of France's Assemblée Nationale.

Yesterday, France's Sénat did likewise, meaning the bill is now only a stroke of President François Hollande's pen away from becoming law.

Minister for Culture and Communication Aurélie Filippetti has told French newspaper Les Echos she thinks the amendment is necessary to protect small booksellers from unfair competition by online retailers. She also feels small booksellers provide “access to culture”. Regulating prices is also good for authors, she contends.

Filippetti also signals she's willing to back the law if, as widely expected, European competition regulators challenge it in EU courts. ®

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