France wants to tax Google with online advertising proposal

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The French government is considering an online advertising tax, a move which would see it collecting millions every year from the likes of Google and Facebook.

A report commissioned by Minister of Culture Frederic Mitterand recommends that the proceeds from the tax should be used to pay the creators of works who are missing out on royalties because of internet piracy. It also suggests offering government-subsidised online subscriptions.

The authors of the report estimate that such a tax could raise as much as $10 million a year.

"This device, which raises interest beyond our frontiers, will contribute to reducing the obstacles which unfair competition born of piracy poses to the development of new economic models for the production and dissemination of works, profitable as much for their promoters as for consumers, permitting the renewal of cultural diversity and the renumeration of all the parties taking part in the process of creation: authors, interpreters, composers, editors, producers, distributors and broadcasters," said Mitterand in his accompanying letter.

"It constitutes, thus, a prior necessity, but not sufficient, to make the internet the preferred vector for diffusion of cultural content."

Advertising operators such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook would be required to declare their advertising income voluntarily.

The authors of the report also call on the French antitrust regulator to look at whether Google has a monopoly on search engine and search advertising services in France, and whether Google is in any way responsible for online publishers' woes.