Apple's iOS Devices Could Be Subject to a New French "Culture Tax"
Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad may soon be subject to a new “culture tax,” as France considers levying such a fee on technology giants in order to help preserve its cultural products. According to Reuters
, former Canal Plus CEO Pierre Lescure was recently tasked with finding new ways of funding French cultural projects in the face of economic downturn. Noting that consumers are spending more money on hardware than on content, Lescure proposed a one percent tax on the sale of Internet-compatible devices.
The new tax would target iPhones and iPads from Apple but also Android tablets and Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices. Lescure’s plan would likely yield roughly 86 million euros per year. The revenue would go to support cultural industries creating French music, images, and videos according to the proposal. As of right now, television users, TV and radio broadcasters, and Internet service providers already pay a similar tax.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, in France, cinema, music, and other creative sectors fall under the “cultural expedition,” which largely protects them from foreign competition. France lobbies heavily for the protection of its culture, with officials from the country expected to push for the exemption of its cultural products from free trade rules in forthcoming talks. The proposal, which is expected to go before parliament in the fall has drawn criticism for contributing to the perception of France as an anti-business nation. France has repeatedly targeted the pocketbooks of the wealthy in order to fund its government and protect social and cultural institutions as the global economic downturn drags on.
French officials are torn regarding the future of the proposal, which some believe oversteps the bounds of the state’s role with regard to the private sector. France’s Industry Minister recently blocked an attempt by Yahoo to buy a majority stake in the country’s video clip site, Dailymotion as well. In the past, the government has also clashed with Google in 2010, following the proposal of one percent tax on all advertising expenses. French officials even went as far as proposing a tax on the collection of personal data from users.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the whole ordeal.