...Continued from page 1

The Other Sporting Events

Two of these are continuing on their long-haul paths to glory. Only one has a direct relation to Paris, and this is the Paris-Dakar Rallye which left Paris on New Years Day and is now racing around in the sand in the middle of Mauritania, which consists mostly of the Sahara desert.

This extreme enduro event, which still has some relative amateurs as competitors, has been getting more coverage than I thought - evenphoto: soldes d'hiver if it is on TV after midnight. Riding a motorcycle in the desert for whole days on end seems to be a punishing personal experience - because some whole nights are spent by individual competitors wrenching their motorcycles back together.

The other event, in nearly the same category of personal risk, is the 'round-the-world' single-handed non-stop sailboat race called the 'Vendée Globe.' This also requires 24-hour vigilance, on the high and unforgiving seas.

The leaders in this race have passed Cape Horn and are in the 'home stretch,' racing up the Atlantic. Still in second place, 24 year-old Helen MacArthur from Britain has finished dodging icebergs. For this exploit and sheer grit, she is being treated as the race's hero by the media.

The over-sponsored event called 'The Race' is still paying for its TV coverage and its main news is about the abandonment of some the hyper-technical and hyper-huge sailboats on account of being more fragile than the high seas permit.

With large crews and all the latest technical aids available, this race in the unlimited class seems to have exceeded the limits of tolerance for excess. Who cares which conglomo's megabucks will win?

Web Life:

The Multimedia Tax Solution

The music recording industry is howling in this part of the world as well as yours about the appearance of inexpensive CD-ROM recorders and recordable blank CDs.

The French government has decided to take the position that all of this technology is used exclusively for the purposesphoto: greek fast food, st denis of pirating recorded music - and starting on Monday, 22. January, a tax will be imposed on blank CDs, mini-disks and DVDs.

Radio France-Info also reported that the Minister of Culture has additionally decided to apply some extra tax to hardware, such as the CD-ROM and DVD recorders - as well as computers.

A simpler sort of restaurant in the Rue Saint-Denis.

According to Objectif Numérique's newsletter of 8. January, the government also intends to tax hard disks, removable Zip and Jaz hard disks, and the various memory devices used by digital cameras.

The French society of authors has welcomed the government action. In theory, like the earlier tax on audio cassettes, the taxes collected will be redistributed to authors, composers and creators - but only so long as they are members of the society of authors.

Non-members have protested against the new taxes. The shiny plastic discs have been a new and cheap source of large-volume storage memory for anybody involved with producing multimedia - as well as all others who have large volumes of data to archive.

In the music area, the ability to 'home-cook' music CDs has freed music creators from the monopoly control of the record companies, even if the only purpose is for recording demo music CDs for self-promotion.

Coupled with the Internet, the ability to 'home-cook' CDs has also freed authors and creators from the need to seek publishers with access to traditional distribution channels - because any Web site can be an outlet for home-made multimedia products.

In France, buyers are charged an extra 19.9 percent percent inphoto: shop, bd sebastopol value-added tax - which is far more than most royalties paid to authors. If the product were a printed book instead, the tax would only be 5.5 percent.

A fairly typical shop on the large Boulevard de Sébastopol.

As I read it, if all of this magazine is offered as a CD-ROM archive, I will have to charge you 2.15 francs extra and remit this tax to some tax collector. To get it back, in theory, I will have to become a member of the society of authors - which is not free either, and how it redistributes the 'royalties' it collects is unknown.

Manufacturers of the digital media supports have asked the government to recalculate its sums, and add a method of exoneration for professional users.

Pirates, by paying the tax, will still be pirates. Most likely, the government's tax will create a new black market for blank media which will enrich somebody at everybody's expense.

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankyou' here.

The 'Official' Weather: 100% 'Winter'

With France firmly in the winter part of the year Météo France is featured here because many people find Paris weather news extremely important. Météo France is the official source for France's TV-weather people - if you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it. Because it is 'official' - meaning: as true as possible - don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours even though TV sometimes goes out on a limb with unreliable seven-day forecasts.

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