Criticism for Google tax

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Google tax attacked

Proposals for a Google tax in France have been strongly criticised by the online community.

Earlier this week, a government-commissioned report was submitted to French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The lead author of the report, Patrick Zelnik, told Liberation newspaper that he had recommended online display and search advertising should be taxed to support traditional creative industries, reports AFP.

Although Mr Zelnik described it as a "Google tax", he explained that other web giants such as Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Facebook would also be targeted. And he estimated that the state could raise £44.7 million this year, which would then be redistributed to musicians, authors, newspapers and so on.

Opinion split on Google tax

Mr Sarkozy did not comment directly on the report. But he did warn that competition was being distorted because multinational internet companies were making money advertising in France without paying taxes in the country.

By contrast, Christine Balague, co-president of digital media think tank Renaissance Numberique, felt that web properties were being blamed unfairly. "Neither online advertisers nor internet service providers are robbing artists," she stated. "Quite the contrary