French music rights holders threaten to sue Apple

Back 'em or Sacem

Apple's legal woes continue. Yesterday, a French music rights management organisation threatened to sue the Mac maker if it fails to cough up a levy imposed on recording equipment as a compensation against piracy.

The Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (Sacem) claims that Apple has failed to add that levy to the price of its iPod portable music player. Since July 2002, the French government taxes all media and hardware that can be used to copy music. The proceeds are distributed among musicians, composers and other rights holders.

The tax varies according to hard drive capacity, but Apple could expect to pay up to €20 ($25) an iPod. Sacem claims Apple has sold tens of thousands of iPods in France, and it wants its cut.

If Apple fails to do so, Sacem "will have no other option than to go immediately to court to make sure that the rights of artists, composers and producers are respected", the organisation said yesterday, in a statement. ®