I have more French in ancestry than any other nation and from this perspective suggest that France use the tax buy a lot of English words to expand the French vocabulary enough to bring French culture into the 20th century.
If the collection is indeed to pay the equivalent of copyright fees to those artists whose work is peresnted through the smart phones, then the whole thing makes a bit of sense. If it is anything else, then it is just one more money-grubbing tax by a government that is not in posession of even a shred of sense, bowing constantly to the socialist agenda. Which, by the way, socialism has been proven deffective repeatedly over the past hundred years or so, and it is not clear why the idiots who keep promoting the concept never learn.
During the recent brouhaha caused by French actor Gerard Depardieu leaving France to protest new taxes on his fortune, it was pointed out that French culture industry is quite handsomely supported by the state; apparently this sponsorship translates into fat salaries for e.g. the film industry, which apparently contributed to Mr. Depardieu's wealth. Someone cynical could argue that it's just another cozy insider deal, not substantially different from the US subsidies for the oil industry, or for corn alcohol or cotton farmers. Did you know that Brazilian cotton industry sued and won at WTO, and as a result US is paying subsidies to BOTH US and BRAZILIAN cotton producers?
Kind of like the State of Illinois, where one of the selling points for a State Lottery was that the proceeds would go to the schools. And they didn't exactly lie - Lottery proceeds do go to the schools - but the amount the schools receive from the general revenue fund was decreased by the same amount.
"...feed people and improve their lives." Fine, you go right ahead, with YOUR money. I'll donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and local food pantries. Don't go asking the government (any government, not just France) to take money from me, under threat of fine and/or imprisonment, to support "the less-advantaged." Regardless of whether it's ostensibly to support starving artists or starving people in general, when government is involved more goes to administrative costs, advertising, waste and fraud than to the people the program was designed to serve.
Frank, nobody in France would believe the motivation is other than "grab money whatever the source". Memory of a tax on cars said to provide funds to elder people is already present: collected money went into common pool, period.
The motivation seems similar to the motivation behind the annual TV license fee that funds public television. But in that case, it is a small pool of defined content creators. In the case of mobile devices accessing content on the internet, it is difficult to see how this tax revenue would be distributed to French internet content creators. Award tax money to the creators of the most popular French language YouTube channels?
With all of the other problems facing France, I just do not see how this tax would help. All cultures either evolve or die. When was the last time you spoke Latin.
Trying to maintain a mythical ideal French culture just cannot be done. French culture varies from one end of France to the other. Each area has its own, which they defend to the death. So what French culture do they hope to save?
Use the money to feed people and improve their lives. Otherwise you will not have anyone left to inherit the culture.
Just my opinion.