back to article French minister: Hit Netflix, Google, Apple et al with bandwidth tax

France's culture minister is as keen as ever to tax tech behemoths to "level the playing field" for French TV and filmmakers. According to news reports, Fleur Pellerin plans to introduce a new tax on "the use of bandwidth", although exactly how this will be calculated is not clear. Back in 2013, when she was the country's …

  1. moiety

    Attempting to surprise-tax Google worked so well for Spain. What are these people on?

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      What are these people on?

      It's a mix of PCP, cocaine and a dash of LSD. I believe that the street name for it is "government".

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Following on from Hungary's successful bandwidth tax I see (it didn't happen in the end).

    France is already taxing ISPs and telecos to subsidise their TV so this'll be their second bandwidth tax.

    Didn't EU spokesmouths say they thought bandwidth taxes were a bad idea too?

  3. Andrew Jones 2

    I can never understand this attitude that people come up with - oh let's charge them because they are providing content that has already been paid for twice, but let's charge them again anyway.

    Netflix pays for bandwidth via however it gets content onto the public internet and the customer pays for the same bandwidth in order to consume that content. To then add another tax on top because Netflix are using bandwidth they have already paid to use - just makes no sense.

    If we start taxing any company that dares to use bandwidth they have already paid for, we'll be watching more and more services shutting shop and there won't be any 'next big thing' being unleashed on the world.

    1. regadpellagru

      "I can never understand this attitude that people come up with - oh let's charge them because they are providing content that has already been paid for twice, but let's charge them again anyway."

      No logic in there and no point to even try to understand it. Just general "tax to see if they pay", without any regard of fairness whatsoever, then if things go titsup (Eco Tax, geez ...), backtrack all along.

      Desperate try to rob any money to close the gap with EU. Bear in mind France is the only country in the world where people pay taxes on raw salary (they don't get) not net salary (they get), due to the wonderfull CSG invented by Michel Rocard's administration (90s I think ?).

      Hollande policy, nothing more.

  4. Big_Ted
    Facepalm

    Hey French film industry.

    Its easy, just make films etc that people other than French people want to watch in English and you have a chance.

    Otherwise your a niche industry and thats it.

    1. theModge

      Re: Hey French film industry.

      A niche industry producing far better films than anything to come out of Hollywood.

      Intouchables is amazing! Really worth a watch and the world would be poorer without it.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Hey French film industry.

        "A niche industry producing far better films than anything to come out of Hollywood."

        You might think it's better. But it's not popular. Therefore it's niche. Pretty much the definition.

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Hey French film industry.

        >producing far better films than anything to come out of Hollywood.

        Way to set the bar pretty low. As Kevin Spacey said if you wanted to do top rate drama (not saying he can btw) you could do that in film in the 1990s but now they only way to do that is on TV. A lot of best content on internet TV is not Hollywood movies. And my guess is there is not a whole lot out of France that is of the quality of say a Breaking Bad.

    2. Tromos

      Re: Hey French film industry.

      In my (admittedly limited) experience of the French, even they don't like French films. They much prefer a Hollywood blockbuster dubbed into French.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        "They much prefer a Hollywood blockbuster dubbed into French."

        I think you pulled that "fact" out of your cul:

        http://www.allocine.fr/boxoffice/france/

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey French film industry.

      "Its easy, just make films etc that people other than French people want to watch *in English* and you have a chance."

      So for the films to compete they must be made understandable in English??

      Sorry can you clarify that point?

      The French industry isn't trying to cater to the American Midwest- the Midwest has an industry that already caters to them.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hey French film industry.

        "The French industry isn't trying to cater to the American Midwest"

        It isn't trying to cater to the French market either.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    La Belle France

    Chooses what bits of shite coming out of Bruxelles they implement. Most of it never gets past the Marne.

    If they want to charge Google, apple et al enough euros to clear their national debt then pretty well nothing that th EU or the ECJ can do to stop them.

    Vive La France and the rest of you can go drown in La Manche.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: La Belle France

      "If they want to charge Google, apple et al enough euros to clear their national debt then pretty well nothing that th EU or the ECJ can do to stop them."

      1) There is.

      2) Google might just, you know, have the same attitude and say "no, what are you going to do about it?"

  6. Ed Coyne

    Is it just me or does this "...while their services mop up bandwidth in countries such as France..." reek of not understanding how the internet works.

    It should be re-written as ".. while users in places such as France use their bandwidth to connect to services such as Netflix."

  7. Dan Paul

    Ignorant Politicians

    I guess that France just wants to rob American companies to pay for Frances inability to provide a better product or compete. Too bad that soon the whole internet is going to become unavailable for the entire EU because of it. Why should they pay an unjust and capricious tax when they can just blackhole any European IP address and send them a 404 error? Oh and might as well "forget them".

    There is a wider world out there beyond the borders of France and this amounts to the same kind of tactics that China is doing. Economic Blackmail. Witness cases against Qualcomm who has valid patents on chips and technology that Chinese companies don't wish to pay for.

    Note to US Companies: Don't negotiate with terrorists or blackmailers.

    1. I don't have a handle

      Re: Ignorant Politicians

      "I guess that France just wants to rob American companies to pay for Frances inability to provide a better product or compete... Don't negotiate with terrorists or blackmailers."

      They'll rob anyone to pay for their inabilities. To paraphrase Will Durant with a hint of Maggie: There is nothing in socialism that other peoples money will not cure.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)

    That was pretty good, if not a tad slow by today's standards.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a...

    ... sin tax! The sin, of course, being that whatever it is coming across the interwebs, it's not French.

  10. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Growing up in the 80s, I used to look forward to French films on CH4. You were always guaranteed a front frontal of an attractive young starlet.

    Pr0n was Babs Windsor in a Carry On in bikini, this was a rare treat, a peek of the promised land.

    Not sure why anyone would bother these days, with the interweb and all that.

  11. asdf Silver badge
    Trollface

    hmm

    I wonder if they will carve out an exception for Jerry Lewis movies.

  12. JLV Silver badge

    Plus ca change...

    Now, I don't mind Netflix, or other corps, paying corporate profit tax at location of sales.

    The rest of this is daft. For starters, France has never met a tax it didn't like.

    And mostly, you can't top-down and command-economy culture. Granted a lot of Hollywood blockbusterness is crap, but... people like it and should be free to watch it. And there are tons of clever, low key productions coming out of US studios and elsewhere, France's output is by no means exceptional.

    France's problem is too much intellectual elitism in its elite, not understanding that French is a barrier and addressing that, and having a Ministre de la Culture in the first place. Individual French filmmakers do just fine when they aim to please the public, not the intelligentsia.

  13. Nifty

    The article missed the bit about all made-in-France films having a special flag embedded, that would allow exemption from the bandwidth tax.

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