May 17, 2013

France ponders smartphone tax

The French Government is reportedly considering introducing a tax on the sale of smartphones and tablets.

The tax would be one per cent of the sale price of gadgets and would be used to help fund French culture, such as film, music and art.

Former chief executive of French pay-TV channel Canal Plus, Pierre Lescure, lead the government-funded report that put forward the proposal. A total of 75 measures were suggested in the paper, which aimed to find new ways to “protect the cultural exception in the face of digital innovation”.

According to the proposal, the smartphone tax could raise in the region of €86 million (£73 million) a year.

Aurelie Filipetti, culture minister in France, commented on the report: “Today we have extremely sophisticated technological equipment that is extremely expensive to buy, but which contributes nothing to the financing of the works that circulate on that same equipment.”

She added: “Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators.”

France has always been very proud of its own cultural heritage and has gone to great pains to protect it. A Cultural Exception policy already means that broadcasters pay fees to fund cultural projects, but the government is looking for a way for big technology companies, such as Google and Apple, to pay similar contributions.

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