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French Lawmakers Give Preliminary Approval to Tax on YouTube’s Ad Revenue

PARIS – The lower house of the French legislature passed a bill to levy a 2% tax on the advertising revenues of online video platforms, including YouTube and Dailymotion.

The bill, nicknamed the “YouTube tax,” would require platforms distributing free and premium video content such as YouTube to pay 2% of their ad revenues in order to help finance local content. The first 70 million euros ($77 million) raised by the levy would go to the National Film Board (CNC). Any amount above that would be deposited into state coffers.

Pushed by a trio of Socialist deputies, Karine Berger, Bruno Le Roux et Pierre-Alain Muet, the bill will now be taken up by the French Senate as part of the budget law during the last quarter of this year. If passed, the measure would then require approval from the European Commission.

The ultimate goal of the bill, French journal Les Echos said, is to extend the tax to the global digital giants – Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon – which have been distributing their content in France but have not been subjected to investment quotas in local content as French companies have.

The French guild of authors, directors and producers (ARP) has applauded the preliminary approval of this bill. “This tax is rooted in the philosophy which has traditionally guided the financing of culture (in France), having content distributors contribute to the financing of this content,” the org said in a statement.

YouTube will be present at Mipcom as Susanne Daniels, the company’s global head of original content, is set to deliver a keynote.

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