|Yeah great, but who's paying for it?|
But a part of this panoply of proposed legislation involves slapping a tax on tablets, smartphones, computers, online TVs and other digital equipment in order to help finance cultural production, particularly the French film industry. Fair enough? Let's see.
François Hollande's proposed 75% tax on high salaries resulted in many rich people leaving the country, the most high-profile of whom was arguably Gérard Depardieu, one of France's most successful - and rich - actors. Be that as it may, the massive media focus on his salary and that of other actors led to accusatory fingers pointing out what everybody know for years - that the public was paying through the nose for an inefficient state-funded film and music industry which milks the public.
So here is a list of the methods the government uses to maintain this system, a system which is one of the reasons why the quality of many French films is so poor these days (but that's another subject);
If you live in France, you pay;
A TV licence, which finances not only TV, but the full-length feature films for cinemas it co-produces.
A tax on 'private copying', which is applied to anything - video and audio cassettes, CD roms, hard drives etc - upon which video, images, music and text may be stored.
Your cinema tickets incorporate a tax which subsidises the film industry as well as the trailers for upcoming films.
A 'Telecom tax', which compensates for the loss of income on national TV stations due to the suppression of adverts in the evening. This money is, in turn, partially invested in financing new films.
Local and national taxes, which are often used to co-produce films.
Unemployment contributions on salary, which go to pay unemployment benefit for unemployed workers in the music, theatre, and film industries. These contributions also help to fund the SOFICA - the state-run company which finances the cinema and audiovisual industries.
And now they are to tax our phones and computers etc to subsidise the same lame-duck industry!
State support for the arts is of course a good thing, but you know what they say about a good thing, you can have too much of it. That is the case here and if the film industry was forced to stand on its own two feet a little, all the dross and garbage and jobs-for-the-boys which characterises the world of an elite clique of actors and directors would be forced to sink or swim a little uniquely on its artistic merit or otherwise. I know it's difficult to get the dosage - the mix - right in this area, but it's high time something was done to change this sclerotic and self-serving ripoff.
Oh, and I nearly forgot, do you know who drew up the Lescure Report? It was Pierre Lescure, an influential French journalist, TV personality and businessman who is also....yup, you guessed first time.....a film actor.
Well well well, quelle surprise..