Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

France considers tax for Google, Yahoo and Facebook

French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy has adopted a hard line on regulating digital content

Google and other net firms could be taxed under plans being considered by the French government.

A report, commissioned by the government, suggests firms such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook should pay a new tax on their online ad revenues.

The money could be used to fund legal alternatives for buying books, films and music on the internet.

But critics say the tax would be difficult to implement and Google says it could slow down innovation.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken a tough line on the increasing dominance of digital content.

France has just introduced tough new legislation aimed at removing those who persistently download illegal content from the net.

It has also gone head-to-head with Google over its plans to digitise the world's books, with a project to set up its own digital library financed by the government to the tune of £700m.

And it is considering a law which would give net users the option to have old data about themselves deleted.

The proposals for a tax on content is still very much in the early stages and there are few details of how it would exactly work.

Patrick Zelnik, who contributed to the report and is also the founder of the French president's wife's record label, hopes the idea will be taken on board across the EU.

But Google is among those to have voiced opposition to the plan.

"We don't think introducing an additional tax on internet advertising is the right way forward as it could slow down innovation," said Olivier Esper, senior policy manager for Google France.

The better way to support content creation is to find new business models that help consumers find great content and rewards artists and publishers for their work."

Print Sponsor

French 'pass' piracy legislation
15 Sep 09 |  Technology
Fine for Google over French books
18 Dec 09 |  Technology
French book publisher sues Google
07 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Net pirates to be 'disconnected'
28 Oct 09 |  Technology

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Reuters France to explore "Google tax" - 34 mins ago France eyes 'Google tax' for online ads - 39 hrs ago
Personal Computer World France plans to tax Google and Yahoo - 41 hrs ago
ClickZ Today France Mulls Online Ad Tax as Google Objects - 42 hrs ago
BusinessWeek France Mulls 'Google Tax' on Internet Ads - 42 hrs ago

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific