France Mulls Smartphone And Tablet Tax To Fund Films, Music And Images

Apple, Amazon, and Google are in the crosshairs as the French government looks for new ways to raise money for home-grown culture during the downturn.

Reuters reports that mobile devices like smartphones and tablets could be subject to a new levy in France. The money raised–an estimated $110 million each year–would go towards cultural projects in the country, benefitting the French film and music industries.


The proposal would be an extension of an existing tax already paid by TV and radio broadcasters and ISPs. A share of France’s TV license, paid by anyone who buys a television, also goes into the same pot. The state feels technology giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon should also be contributing.

“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 Filippetti said yesterday. If the measures get government approval, they will appear in a new budget law that will go before parliament by the end of the year.

France is already in the spotlight over what many people feel is an anti-business stance, with over-protective labor laws that stifle productivity. Last month it vetoed the proposed takeover of video sharing site Dailymotion by Yahoo, and has long been looking into options like a data-mining tax for firms such as Google and Facebook. Its proposal for a content tax on search engines prompted Mountain View to threaten to unhitch French media from its pages.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.