Culture tax for Apple, Google products?

President Francois Hollande will decide whether France should impose new taxes on technology giants like Apple and Google to finance cultural projects

May 14, 2013
Google Chrome Eye

President Francois Hollande will decide by the end of July whether France should impose new taxes on technology giants like Apple and Google to finance cultural projects, a move that could feed into an anti-business image days after a spat with Yahoo!.

The Socialist government asked former Canal Plus CEO Pierre Lescure to find new ways of funding culture during an economic downturn, in line with France’s “cultural exception” argument that such projects must be shielded from market forces.

While far from becoming laws, the proposals could worsen tension between France and technology giants after Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg blocked an attempt by Yahoo! to buy a majority stake in French video clip site Dailymotion.

The run-in reignited a debate on state intervention in the economy, angered the firm’s French parent company and exposed discord between Montebourg and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, who denied having approved the move.

Lescure’s report said taxes on sales of smart-phones and tablets, namely Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google Android products, could help fund culture because consumers were spending more money on hardware than on content.

The proposed tax would mirror fees already paid by television users, TV and radio broadcasters and Internet service providers to fund art, cinema and music in France, but which Google, Apple and Amazon are now exempt from paying.

“Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators,” Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti told journalists.

Hollande’s office said in a statement that he wanted lawmakers to review legislation based on the report’s recommendations by the summer. Parliament goes into recess at the end of July and returns in mid- to late September.

Filipetti added that the “culture tax”, which she said would be “minimal and widely distributed”, was likely to be included in a budget law to be submitted to parliament in November.

French officials are also pushing to ensure that French cultural products, and notably the audiovisual sector, remain exempt from free trade rules during talks on a planned trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama is travelling to Europe next month to launch the talks, which would create the world’s largest free-trading bloc if they were successful.

After months of public criticism of Google, France in January abandoned trying to make it pay newspapers for publishing links to articles, settling for a pledge by Google to invest 60 million euros in a fund to support news production.

In Germany, publishers Bertelsmann SE and Axel Springer also backed down from a similar push after a court let Google publish links and previews to their content for free.

Last October, Google denied a newspaper report saying it received a 1 billion euro tax claim from the French state.

In Britain, Google has stirred the ire of lawmakers for the way it pays almost no income tax on billions of dollars of UK sales each year.

(Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur and Marine Pennetier, editing by Mark Heinrich)

More business news

Do you want to be your own boss?

BlackBerry shares down on Pacific Crest report

Microsoft extends search guarantee in Yahoo deal

Nokia investors losing patience with CEO

Tags: Active, Apple, Google, Yahoo!

Free Email Newsletter:
Subscribe

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – technology images can be found here

Join the conversation

Connect with MyBB

twitterfacebookandroidappleblackberrynewsletterfeed

Poll

Do you use the Post Office to send letters or packages to people?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Twitter’s product chief sidelined

Twitter-logo-new

Twitter Inc has sidelined the product chief it recently poached from rival Google Inc, in the latest executive reshuffle at the online messaging service, according to a source familiar with the situation

Samsung, LG turn to quantum dot TVs

Old TV showing static

The world’s biggest TV makers, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc, are turning to quantum dot technology for their next-generation TVs

eNCA cut in the UK

eNCA website

eNCA is being removed from the Sky pay-TV platform in the United Kingdom just two years after it branched out

Android founder leaves Google

Android glowing in crowd

Google on Thursday confirmed that an executive behind leading mobile device software Android is leaving the company to create an incubator for hardware startups

Free MyBroadband Newsletter:
Subscribe
X
bool(true)