Friday 8 January 2010

Voila, Sarkozy proposes a new 'Google' tax

We previously blogged that Bono had heralded the intervention of the movie industry as a potential savior for the ailing music industry, saying "Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world". Well, in true Christmas spirit, along came French President Nicolas Sarkozy with yet more Christmas cheer for Bono - a real secret Santa. In a speech at the Cite de la Musique in Paris, Sarkozy made it clear that he is actively supporting new proposals from a committee led by music producer and label boss Patrick Zelnik to tax Google and other search engines, web portals such as Facebook and French internet service providers such as Yahoo and AOL. The so called "Google tax" would be used to provide funding for the music and publishing industries – as well as funding ‘music cards’ for French music fans so they can legally buy music (and other content such as films and books) online, and this wqould be finacially supported by thre French Government too. In return, the French President seems keen that music sold must be able to be played ‘on all platforms’ which appears to be a reference to totally DRM free music. The French President also seems keen to investigate Google’s dominant position in online advertising as potentially anti-competitive.

Google France’s public affairs director, Olivier Esper, told Liberation that he hoped the government would "favour cooperation" and warned against "prolonging a path of opposition between the Internet world and the world of culture, for example, through the path of taxation". Christine Balague, , co-president of a French Internet think tank Renaissance Numerique said "Let's stop demonising the Internet, and let's look at the benefits provided by the Web" adding "Neither the online portals nor the Internet providers steal from artists. On the contrary, they participate in the emergence of new and innovative economic models.

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