France mulls Google tax
As reported in the Guardian and Liberation, France is planning to introduce a ‘Google Tax’ aimed at returning revenues from the internet to the artistic and cultural sphere. The idea is to tax Google, Yahoo and potentially other major internet portals on their advertising revenue and then use the monies to fund cultural projects.
This very much follows the spirit of continental European copyright which centres around the rights of the authors/artists and promoting their innovation and endeavour. The internet and its dominant companies are seen as enriching themselves with the profit from content that is drawn or borrowed from its original creators without returning the profit to them. The law aims to – in a roundabout way – redress this balance.
How exactly the law and the tax it introduces would work is not clear and one could cynically argue it’s a way for the state to levy additional tax revenue in the name of supporting creative industries. If Google images carries a photo produced by one person will that person receive any benefit from the state spend on the ‘cultural sphere’ to compensate/reward them for their contribution to the sphere that Google has profited from and is being taxed in respect of?