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France buys its citizens music

In a daft French scheme to persuade their youth that buying music is a good idea, the state is doling out subsidies to people aged 12-25 to allow them to tune up.

French folk of the right age can buy €50 vouchers with which to obtain music online but the government picks up half the bill so the vouchers only cost prospective punters €25 (£21.50).

Eurocrats at the European Commission gave the scheme the green light earlier this week.

In a statement Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said: "Music online is certainly a driver for the success of the Internet and for economic development. However, we shall ensure that such initiatives are implemented in compliance with the EU state aid rules.”

He reckoned the scheme "will contribute to preserving pluralism and cultural diversity in the online music industry."

The French government has earmarked some 25 million euros (£22 million) to pay for the two-year scheme. It expects to shift around one million cards and the kids will be allowed to buy one card per year.

Music download sites participating in the scheme are being asked to help out by cutting the price of tunes helping promote the initiative. The amount participating sites can earn from the scheme will also be capped at five million euros.

France recently adopted the three-strikes-and-you're out Hadopi law targeted at file-sharers who are caught swapping tunes.

The country has also adopted a racist law to throw out its gypsy population, in a move that highlights the fact that, just because something is written in the law book, doesn't make it right.