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Apple responds to French DRM law

updated 10:00 pm EST, Tue March 21, 2006

Apple on French DRM law

Apple today responded to the initial passing of the proposed French law that would force companies to open up their digital rights management (DRM) software for interoperability with other players and music services. Apple said the draft law would result in "state-sponsored piracy," according to a statement obtained by Reuters: "The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the publication. "If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers." Although it opposes the law, Apple said the proposed law, which passed in the French National Assembly on Tuesday, would likely increase iPod sales: "iPod sales will likely increase as users freely upload their iPods with 'interoperable' music which cannot be adequately protected," Kerris said. "Free movies for iPods should not be far behind." Analysts have said that Apple will likely pull out of France before it opens up its FairPlay DRM to other companies.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Arclite

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Analysts have said that Apple will likely pull out of France before it opens up its FairPlay DRM to other companies." I don't blame them. I'm not sure where I saw this comparison, but one person has said. "So, in France, does GM have to make sure its replacement parts work with Ford cars?" Makes about as much sense.

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Invalid Comparison

    The GM/Ford analogy is not an similar comparison. A spare part is something that is part of something else (e.g a car). Here consumers are buying music, which is a product all by itself, not a part of the iPod or iTunes.

    My only problem with the law is that I believe it is motivated by Apple's competition, as opposed to a genuine concern for consumers. I do not know anybody who is concerned about transfering music they buy from iTunes to other mediums.

    Nonetheless, the law may be positive for Macs, as Microsoft would have to allow its digital media to play on Macs.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's a shame to see Apple turning into MS. Originally they didn't want any DRM on iTunes, but the music companies forced them to. Now it's a good thing.

    They even put Fairplay DRM on tracks that are available from other stores as MP3 - i.e. when the bands/labels don't want DRM. Who does that benefit?

    And no one has said anything about making iTunes work (i.e. synchronise music) with other players. In some cases that will be technically impossible. It's just saying that Apple has to let people convert from Fairplay to WMA if they want to (without going through the non-DRM stage of CD).

    The best solution would be no DRM (hasn't hurt Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand or White Stripes). The second best would be an open (no licence fee) standard for DRM - and Fairplay could BE that open standard. If Apple genuinely cared about the issues it outlined above then that is what it would do.

    Instead it's becoming addicted to a new revenue stream. I don't think that's good for consumers and I don't think it's good for Apple.

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is just the same…

    as the EU forcing MS to licence interoperability to its APIs. The reason you're all complaining is because now it's Apple caught on the hop. Scroll back a couple of years and you'll see plenty of posts from Mac users complaining about the lack of interoperability in FairPlay. What changed? We all know that this type of DRM doesn't stop piracy, because you can just burn the iTunes track to CD, etc. No DRM involved. So, it must be that people are buying from the iTunes store for reasons of convenience, etc, regardless of the notion that the DRM is actually enforcing the sales regime. In a few years time we'll probably all be looking back and saying "thank goodness that horrible FairPlay thing is gone". Well, let's thank the French, now, for helping that along (that's if the law makes it through the upper house).

  1. photoace



    What's next, video games

    I can't play Xbox games on my Playstation. The French should look at real issues like this. :)

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Open FairPlay

    Eh, I think Apple should open up FairPlay and allow other music services to sell "iPod" compatible songs and albums. It could only help the sales of iPods. (Not that help is needed.) And quite possibly push Windows Media out of the consumer entertainment market.

  1. I.P. Freely

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it's not about DRM...

    To all of you who do not like DRM, think of it this way:

    You don't want it? Don't buy it. Don't confuse your hatred to DRM with this law. This law has nothing to do DRM, it's about retards complaing about the fact they can't use their crappy MP3 with iTunes music. And instead of letting the market decide what is right, it's government butting in when they don't need to.

    There is nothing wrong with FairPlay. just because you have problem with DRM does not make it right for company to change it's business model.

    You can't draw analogy with MS because, MS is a monopoly, people have no choice choice. iTMS is not a monopoly, it's just a preferred service.

  1. unwillyn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Think Business !!

    I've been watching this story line for a while, and it's clear most of you have no idea what France is up to .....

    France is the most protectionist economic government on earth !!! When referring to their politics, it should always be referred to as "France,Inc." France has scores of federal laws created specifically to prevent targeted "foreign" companies from dominating ANY segment of French industry. France only believes in "Fair Trade" outside of French borders. The record on this point in indisputable.

    France doesn't care one iota about DRM, Fair Play, or any other lofty issues you all seem to think are at stake. France,Inc. cares about money ... period !!! (Lest any of you forget why France was dealing with Saddam Hussein while the rest of the world embargoed Iraq ... simply too much money for the French to resist)

    You can bet you last Franc there is a French government subsidized electronics company that has an Mp3 player ready to go into production to compete with the iPod. Probably a division of Thompson SA, which incidentally owns the Mp3 patent!!! By Apple's own admission, the money is in the player, NOT the iTunes store, so the French player will have even greater profitability if it can "suck" songs off of iTunes.

    That's the name of THAT tune, plain and simple .... Don't believe me, ask the Japanese electronic companies how it works in France.

    The only way to beat the French at their game, would be for Apple to open a division inside France that manufactured iPods using French workers and supply vendors. Then France would pass a law blocking any other Mp3 player on the planet from being sold in France.

    Want to understand this a little more? Start here ...

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: shame

    Do you think Apple wants DRM? No, Apple wants to sell music and iPods. The record companies insist on DRM for Apple to sell music.

    If Apple is forced to remove DRM or open it up so anyone can figure out how to defeat it, the record companies will not allow online music sales. People will start stealing again.

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just don't use iTunes

    I don't see what the big deal is. If you don't like FairPlay, just don't frigging use iTunes to buy music!

    You can still buy CDs and rip them. You can still use MP3s.

    Has Apple used its so-called monopoly power on electronic music distribution to prevent competitors from entering the field? NO! The competitors just _suck_.

    You can get a Napster pod and use it with Napster. You can get some WMV junk from Samsung or iRiver or any number of Asian manufacturers and use it with Rhapsody or any MS DRM service.

    If anything, in theory, Apple is dooming itself because it doesn't have WMV DRM support in the iPod.

    Luckily for Apple though, the competition is garbage and doesn't look to be getting much better anytime soon. The competition is disjointed, ugly hardware and silly software, and there is nothing Apple is doing to in any way affect that!

    So, as long as Apple doesn't abuse its 'monopoly' power by, say, signing content to exclusive distribution deals, the whingeing has zero merit.

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