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France ponders extending 'culture tax' to YouTube and Facebook

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A new report from France's Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) has opened the door to possible taxes on large web video outlets like YouTube and even more general content providers like Facebook. The report concerns France's current culture tax, which taxes movie theaters, broadcasters and ISPs, using the 1.3 billion euro of annual revenue to fund French film and TV production. If viewers are skipping the cinema in favor of YouTube videos, the report reasons, then why not include web video in the tax too? If Facebook is deemed to be a content provider, the report says it could also take a hit from the tax.

It's part of a broader move in France to tax technology products more effectively. This summer, a proposal to President Hollande suggested a one percent tariff on smartphones and tablets, driving the revenue towards the same cultural fund. Google is a particular target for France, earning $2 billion a year in the country while paying little to no domestic tax, a situation President Hollande has called "unacceptable."