France mulls 'culture' tax on all Internet-connected devices

May 13, 2013 at 7:02 PM
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PARIS, May 13 (UPI) -- France's President Francois Hollande says he is considering a tax on smartphones, laptops and tablets to finance his country's "cultural exception."

The tax proposal was among a number of measures presented to Hollande Monday by a special culture committee after it spent nine months looking at ways to "protect the cultural exception ... in the face of digital innovation," The Guardian reported.

France's long-standing "exception culturelle" is a protective strategy under which anything considered to be of cultural value to French society is to be protected from market forces.

Those who espouse the concept often attack the spread of American films and the English language in particular.

An estimated $111 million annually from a 1 percent tax on all devices that connect to the Internet would be spent on supporting French music, images and film, the culture committee said.

"The cultural exception is a battle for France and defending and adapting also contributes to growth and employment," Aurelie Filippetti, the culture minister, said.

Smartphone and tablet manufacturers should pay in an "absolutely minimal way ... part of the proceeds of their sales in favor of the creators," she said.

French consumers purchased 13.5 million smartphones, 3.6 million tablets and 4.5 million laptop computers last year.

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