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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook 314

Posted by timothy
from the culture-of-collection dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes with this excerpt from BusinessWeek: "Should YouTube subsidize le cinéma français? France's audiovisual r.egulator thinks so. In a report this week, the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) says that video-sharing websites should be subject to a tax that helps finance the production of French films and TV shows. ... Although the CSA report says that videos posted online by private individuals should not be subject to taxation, it contends that video-sharing sites increasingly have become 'professional' content providers. ... Separately, France is considering a tax on smartphones, tablets, and other devices as another source of revenue for cultural subsidies. The proposed tax would raise an estimated €86 million annually that would be used to finance the 'cultural industries' digital transition,' France's Culture Ministry said at the time."
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

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  • Kickback time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @04:44AM (#45803867) Homepage Journal
    "That's a nice video streaming business you have there, you should speak to my cousin, he runs a french language film production company, sure he can help you..."
  • Not Culture (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mfwitten (1906728) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @04:53AM (#45803893)

    If you have to subsidize it, then it ain't culture; it's history.

  • Re: Frogs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lord_rob the only on (859100) <> on Saturday December 28, 2013 @05:01AM (#45803909)

    There are many names you can cite
    Proof is when a good french movie ls released you americans make exactly the same movie but with american actors

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @05:02AM (#45803913)

    Some of you will say it has already started. And in some ways, it already has. However, as these 'small' little seperators wiggle their way into the legal framework, country by country, the Net is going to become a legally convulated hell for personal media, personal information, and copyright. It's pretty grey now, however this is just going to murk up the waters more.

    Net neutrality was a half-assed attempt to stopgap it in the US, but the FCC, however contadictory politicized and impotent, sure as hell isn't going to consider that now! With Italys' recent win over Google, and now France's 'tax' hitting the major players, this feels all to familiar that it's just the beginning of a landslide of legislation to reign in information sharing, and to insure capitalizing from it.

  • by rusty0101 (565565) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @05:23AM (#45803953) Homepage Journal

    You're making the assumption that french culture is independent of the french govornment. While this may be true for those artists that are earning a living on the art they produce, the govornment of france feels that they are responsible for maintaining french culture, and as a govornment agency have mandated studies that have determined that this is the cost of making this transition, and as a result have instigated other studies that have recommended that taxes on these artifacts of the digital transition should cover that cost. The fact that the cost has already been bourn by the artists and art viewers as they have made the transition independent of the studies of the state does not eliminate the requirement that the state collect those fees, to make the transition.

    When all is done, every artist in France is likely to be given a 2 Euro digital camera that does not capture more than 6 images at VGA quality or lower, at a time, and does not support any of the various flash media storage formats that are in circulation, To allow them to transition to 'digital'. any remaining incidental funds recovered by the temorary taxation will be used to cover the costs of distributing those cameras.

  • Re: Well... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @05:40AM (#45804003)

    Classic problem from someone from US. Culture is not in their vocabulary.

  • Classic France (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pablo_max (626328) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @05:46AM (#45804019)

    Seriously, this is classical French behavior. Over the years they have put various taxes on this or that to protect this or that industry. Think taxes on blank media which should go to the record companies. Not a cent to artists mind you, but I digress.

    Actually, the only real way France will learn is to simple ignore them. By ignore them, I mean completely pull out of the France. No french versions of websites. No, french youtube, no French google or bing.

    I wonder how long it would take for the French people to freak out for being cut off from any meaningful content?

    Alternatively, for French versions of websites, you have have a "pay to enter". On youtubes page, there can be a sign saying due to the ridiculous cost of operating in France, you will need to pay 5€ per month in order to watch any videos.
    The same on google and bing and yahoo. Want to search? 15 cent per search.

    I say call their bluff and pull out of France. Now, if we could just get those surrender monkeys out of the EU....

  • Re:Not Culture (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:01AM (#45804067)

    But everyone does it.

    Do you actually think that is a reason? . . . or are you trying to hold everyone else accountable? I learned at a pretty young age that when I tried to use the phrase, "but all my friends are doing it," that I was *still* accountable for being responsible and doing the right thing - which meant that I reaped the consequences of the stupid thing I just did that I tried to use that excuse to escape.

    Check your language - whenever you use that phrase you should seriously question your logic.

  • Re:Not Culture (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:34AM (#45804187)

    And don't forget the Pentagon. Whenever you see a two bit tv show featuring, say, an aircraft carrier, it is subsidized by DoD. Strings attached of course, so it is effectively outsourced propaganda.

  • Re:Not Culture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @06:52AM (#45804235)

    Actually I was arguing that if everyone does it, all must do it. As with any other area of protectionism. It's your basic game theory:

    - If no-one does it, all achieve modest success (ie, cultural influence)
    - If some do it and some don't, those who do achieve great success at the expense of those who do not.
    - Therefore if some start doing it, everyone else has to join in to achieve an even playing field again.

  • Re:Not Culture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @07:19AM (#45804343) Homepage Journal

    So, Alexgieg - you are merely defending America's capitalistic approach to "culture", am I correct? Basically, if it doesn't make a heap of money for Hollywood executives and investors, then it's not really culture, right?

    Sadly, America has lost a lot of culture in the past century, because of Hollywood. There was a time when an American citizen could be entertained by Russians, Slavs, Africans, Asians, Mexicans, or any other culture they might choose. Today? We've lost almost all of that. The only entertainment that has survived is that which corporate executives approve of. Entertainment which they have harnessed toward the goal of milking Americans of their money.

    As a young boy, and as a young man, I remember being fascinated by the diversity that was obvious in my own hometown, and in the surrounding region. Today - cultural diversity seems to be about dead. Everyone, no matter their background, flocks to the cinema for their entertainment. They all listen to music for which they have paid - music approved by RIAA represented companies. What has happened to our folk music, and our folk lore?


    I really don't know much about French movies, or French music, or French culture in general. I'm not a student of any of the arts. If I were a student, maybe my opinion of French art would be lower than Hindi, or Chinese, or Russian. Maybe. I really don't know.

    What I do know, without a doubt, is that the shit that Hollyweird puts out is truly that - shit. Bang-bang shootemups, often times with less plot than little children could offer. "Action thriller" is just about synonymous with "brain dead".

    If California experienced an earthquake that swallowed Hollyweird and all of it's execs, along with all of it's major actors - mankind would have lost nothing.

    I would much prefer to sample a little culture from places like France, than to be forced to watch another idiot action movie out of Hollyweird, thank you very much. Not that I intend to start studying any of the arts, mind you. But, I do enjoy a little entertainment now and then. There is nothing on the airwaves in the US that entertains me.

  • Re:Kickback time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @10:56AM (#45805211)

    I don't see a problem with the YouTube tax

    I do... Youtube's not a French company. The idea that any country in the world can levy a tax on you if you're an internet company, would be crippling.

    How about a "Mohamed" tax from muslim countries, on any depiction of Mohamed in a video? The tax amount? $1 Million dollars, per viewer of each such video.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @11:22AM (#45805349) Homepage Journal

    Maybe it's the language that causes brain damage, because here in Canada, we have the Quebecois with that same perverse "protectionist" mentality about their language and culture.

    Or maybe they just can't accept the fact that the days of empire are over, and that they no longer matter all that much on the world stage compared to when they were in their glory days.

    What I do know is that protectionism and isolationism don't save anything; they just create isolated backwaters that aren't connected with the global culture and the rest of the world.

    Stupidest example I can think of: In Quebec, you're supposed to yell "Quatre" on the golf course. The problem with that is "Fore" is short for "Forewarned", not "Four."

  • by sjbe (173966) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @11:48AM (#45805491)

    Youtube's not a French company.

    Yes they are. I guarantee you that Google (who owns YouTube) is incorporated in France and can be taxed there. The fact that the parent company is in the US is not important here. France absolutely can tax the French subsidiary of Google. There probably are taxation angles via the EU as well.

    The idea that any country in the world can levy a tax on you if you're an internet company, would be crippling.

    It would be if they could collect the revenue. If you don't actually do any business in France they cannot tax you even if they pass laws which try. They simply cannot collect the money.

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon