France is on the cusp of introducing a tax on smartphones and tablets to help preserve the country’s culture, CNN said on Tuesday. Endorsed by President Francois Hollande’s administration, the proposal would tax any mobile device that can access the Internet up to 4 percent on the sale; the tax would include gaming consoles and e-readers. That tax would then be used to help fund French art, films and music.
“Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators,” said Aurelie Filippetti. So, essentially, because your phone can access French music, or look at French art, it should be taxed so more content can be created using that money. Even if your device is simply used for communication purposes, or to access Facebook a few times a day.
Backers of the proposal said the tax was purposely kept low as not to punish consumers and provoke a black market, but is necessary to “correct excessive imbalances.” This actually isn’t unprecedented for France; the country previously taxed TV companies and distributors to fund French films. In addition, the country siphons around $250 million a year from copyrights on hardware storage.
If the plan is approved—there were 80 separate proposals to help preserve French culture—the taxing of mobile devices could go into effect next year. Another proposal included a shorter delay of film releases to video as a way to combat piracy.