French Government Wants to Tax the Internet

It seems that the French government wants to treat the internet like a broadcaster and tax it accordingly.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

French media website 01net is reporting (Google translation) that the French government has passed a first reading on legislation that would put a tax on the internet. The news follows France doing everything in their power to install a ‘three strike’ law on file-sharers which has sparked major opposition all across Europe.

The report describes the new tax where 0.9% of all the profits made by French ISPs would contribute to a public broadcasting fund. It makes it look like the legislation would indirectly make the internet another broadcaster. Many players involved with the internet in France are arguing that the tax is unconstitutional. Digital Renaissance says that the government shouldn’t consider taxing the internet because the internet creates jobs and, therefor, must be stimulated rather than taxed.

French politician Frédéric Lefebvre defended the tax saying that all broadcasters must contribute to public funding. He also argues that arms traffickers, thieves drug dealers and pimps have found refuge on the internet. He also adds that “psychopaths, rapists, racists and thieves have made their nests [on the internet]”

There is little doubt that ISPs in France will fight this or face the very real possibility of being forced to pass the extra tax onto their customers – a move that wouldn’t bode well for digital France which aims to, among other things, enable all French citizens to have access to the internet. It’s worth noting that this is just the first reading that passed and there is plenty of time still to fight this.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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