This week, the government of France, through the French National Assembly, approved a new tax that would take 2% of all advertising revenues produced by online video content producers. The tax, of course, would only apply to video content shown online in France.
This follows at least a month long fiery debate among French politicians. But, in the end it seems, the French politicians, like politicians everywhere, never met a tax they didn’t like. The measure went through France’s lower house of their National Assembly but the federal government had rejected such a proposed tax prior to the measure’s passage. The 2% tax will be levied against all online video content sites that show free or paid content in France. It doesn’t matter the company’s country of origin and will engulf the smallest of local VOD providers all the up to such giants as YouTube.
The French politicians also decided that any violent or pornographic online video content would not be taxed the 2%, Instead, they declared that such sites would be taxed 10% on all advertising revenues generated. The politicians did not define either “violent” or “pornographic”.
The politicians declared that the tax revenue would be funneled through the National Cinema Centre of France. They said that the money would be put to use financing French produced audio-visual content. For many years France’s film and and video content industries have been haunting the politicians to do something about the foreign companies that weren’t required to pay the fees and taxes that they are required to. They complained that they needed to have the playing field leveled off.
Those who stood against the new tax proposal declared that it would never work because it was, basically, unenforceable. How would they possibly collect the revenues, especially from foreign countries? They believe the focus should be more on how governments can stop the huge problem, in their eyes, of worldwide tax evasion by such companies, especially the leading players.
The supporters called the measure, “historic…and a fundamental advance in favor of creativity.”
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