France redistributes web wealth

The French government is considering the possibility of levying an additional tax at internet advertising revenues in order to bail out struggling newspapers and musicians.

The proposal, which was part of a government-commissioned report, followed complaints from struggling media companies which insist that the likes of Google are raking in the cash by stealing their content and offering it to the world for free.

In effect, the tax would punish forward-thinking companies like Google which has trailblazed new forms of content delivery in order to subsidize lazy, complacent dinosaurs like the music industry which sat on its fat arse content with the status quo for decades whilst the world changed around it, only waking up to smell the non fat mocha choca latte when it realised the piles of easy cash were drying up.

Although the plan has been dubbed the Google Tax, it would apply to all large internet players including Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook. The report's lead author said that the tax would take "a small percentage" of the ad revenue of these companies, and could raise €50 million a year, which could pay for a lot of Bentleys for record company executives.

France has been at the forefront of the battle to stop illegal downloading, being the first nation to propose the 'three strikes and you're out' system which would see internet user excommunicated from their service without trial or conviction.

Sydney Morning Herald