France plans to impose a tax up to 4 per cent on smartphones, tablets and all other Internet-linked devices to help finance French art, films and music.
The French, however, now perceive that their long-established system –
France’s French content quotas and device-based copyright levies – are
in jeopardy because of unstoppable waves of digital content available on
Culture and Communication Minister Filippetti, by
resorting to the cultural exception concept, has framed the issue as “a
battle in France” for “the sake of (or in the interest of) all content
creators and all European citizens.” She specifically noted that the new
report prepared by the French government is “in line with this defense
principle in the digital era.” This is argued in the 400-page report,
titled “Cultural Exception – Act II,” which weighs more than five
Affected by the new proposal, if implemented, would be
companies that make smartphones and tablets. Filippetti argued that
those manufacturers are asked to “contribute part of the revenue from
their sales to help creators.”
The Financial Times reported that
an initial tax of 1 per cent could “raise 86 million euros, but this
could be raised to 3 or 4 per cent.”
It remains unclear how much
this tax might actually benefit the creators of digital content. I
can’t help but notice that at a time when hardly anyone in France is
employed making smartphones and tablets, this potential shift of a tax
burden largely onto someone other than the French is a politician’s
dream come true.
Meanwhile, the early result of a poll by Europe
1, one of the main radio stations here, shows even the French don’t seem to
believe that the idea of tax on digital products will help finance the
But of course, the number of voters, shown below, still
remains limited. As more people vote, the more people are likely to
support the proposal, according to EE Times’ French correspondent,
Do you approve the idea of tax on digital products for funding the culture?
Source: Europe 1
-- Additional reporting by Anne-Françoise Pelé.