France is planning a tax on search engine ad revenue to raise money to invest into creative industries weakened by the digital revolution. Besides Google, the tax would target other large operators in Europe such as Microsoft and Yahoo! whether or not their offices are in France.
Google’s European headquarters are in Ireland, but under the proposal, the operator would pay a levy every time a French internet user clicks on an advertising banner or sponsored link on its sites. The proposal is outlined in a government-commissioned survey, and forms part of the counties latest drive to regulate the internet, which has seen it enact some of the world’s toughest antipiracy legislation.
The funds would go towards financing schemes such as a government-subsidised digital subscription for 15 to 24-year-olds to download music cheaply to wean them off illegal piracy.
Guillaume Cerutti, one of the authors of the report said the tax would put an end to “enrichment without any limit or compensation”.
Google has annual internet advertising revenues in France alone of £720 million, according to the report’s authors. They want France’s competition watchdog to investigate whether it is respecting monopoly rules on internet advertising.