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France considers so-called 'Google tax'

France considers so-called 'Google tax'
France's President Nicholas Sarkozy arrives at a plenary session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 18, 2009. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov | License Photo

PARIS, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed with key points of a report calling for taxing Internet companies like Google to offset revenues lost to free content.

Sarkozy did not specify he would support recommendation for a so-called "Google tax," that would apply to a variety of social networking and search engine companies, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

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Sarkozy did say, "the possibly dominant position Google has acquired in the online ad market," should be examined by regulators under antitrust concerns.

Co-leader of the report Patrick Zelnik said, "the world of culture is not only turned upside-down but profoundly threatened by the development of the Internet, and we hope that our action doesn't intervene too late," the newspaper reported.

The government-sponsored report calls for a "reasonable" tax on Internet ad revenue as "a justified compensation for the advantages … (made possible by) the development and illegal exchanges of files on the Internet."

In response, Christine Balague, co-president of Renaissance Numerique, a think tank, said, "let's stop demonizing the Internet. Neither the online portals nor the Internet steal from artists. On the contrary, they participate in the emergence of new and innovative economic models."

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