Taxing creatively to subsidize creativity

A government report in France has proposed taxing internet advertising to subsidize creativity:

France could start taxing Internet advertising revenues from online giants such as Google, using the funds to support creative industries that have been hit by the digital revolution, a newspaper reported on Thursday… The levy, which would also apply to other operators such as MSN and Yahoo, would put an end to “enrichment without any limit or compensation,” newspaper Liberation quoted Guillaume Cerutti, one of the authors of the report, as saying.

The reasoning, apparently, is that internet giants provide a bridge between users and free content – reaping  rewards through advertising dollars while content creators are left out in the cold.  While those content creators should have the right to control access to their products, this scheme doesn’t come close to doing that; it does, however, limit internet platforms that more creative artists might use to gain exposure.

Google has it’s problems, but no one can debate that their business model is creative.  Google monetizes free stuff – from search to email and calendar applications to information tracking – by collecting information at every step of the way and using it to fuel a highly targeted and personalized advertising platform.

The ill-conceived subsidy outlined in the report, on the other hand, taxes that money to funnel money to the music industry.  In other words, the report lays out a system that rewards content generators who aren’t creative enough to figure out a way to monetize their product.

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