France passes draft, threatens iTunes

Law threatens iTunes

French lawmakers approved an online copyright bill Tuesday that would require Apple to open its FairPlay digital rights management format that it uses for its iTunes music store and iPod players, according to The Associated Press. Lawmakers in the National Assembly, France's lower house, approved the bill 296-193. However, the law has yet to be debated and approved by the Senate--a process that would not begin until at least May, according to report. The "draft" law also would force Apple as well as others such as Sony to share proprietary copy-protection technologies so that rivals can offer compatible services and players. "Under the bill, companies would be required to reveal the secrets of hitherto-exclusive copy-protection technologies such as Apple's FairPlay format and the ATRAC3 code used by Sony's Connect store and Walkman players."

TOTAL_COMMENTS Comments
  1. ticedric 03/21, 01:09pm

    if you look at how apple has reacted in the past to such situations, we can expect a "silent" shut down of the Itunes store in france...

  1. unity@mac.com 03/21, 01:16pm

    I shutdown would seen the logical path given Apple's stubbornness in situations like this. Besides, its the French...

  1. Albert 03/21, 01:20pm

    My guess is that Apple will be forced to sell vinyl and 8 tracks in France that connect up to a toaster...

  1. ZinkDifferent 03/21, 01:21pm

    ... not unique to France, but not surprising to see it happen there, first. This is the other extreme, unlike in the USA, where lawmakers will bend over backwards to 'protect' the individual -- well, that is, as long as what they are protecting them from is not French.

    If Apple and iTunes were French originated innovations and product, then you can bet that no such law would ever be considered.

    Inherently, the concept of the law is not entirely bad, essentially creating a level playing field, except that enacting this kind of law would result in the potential loss, to France, of access to legal digital music, as no other competitor would want to take a foothold there either, if Apple abandons the country.

    My prediction regarding this is two-fold:

    - Apple, on one hand will make an effort to wiggle out of it, by claiming their ability to burn to CD allows the free exchange of their content with other players. Technically, they are correct, and I never understood the legal arguments of that idiot with his class-action suit, claiming Apple is forcing him to buy an iPod to listen to his downloaded music. Download with iTunes, burn to CD, import to whatever Windows junk you own, and you are good! Likewise, Apple could demonstrate this functionality (which PlaysForSure does not offer), and get out of it.

    - Otherwise, Apple may provide a 'new function' in a future version of iTunes, that allows direct export of files in MP3 format (i.e. instead of burning the CD, just exporting the files to a folder), or allows option clicking a file and having it exported into an external program.

    Either of these ought to work under the intent of the law. The only way Apple will pull out of France is if the law requires them to reveal and share their proprietary technology with competitors - in which case the French iTnes store will be shut down, French iTunes consumers will riot, and the law will quietly be amended by the lawmakers (either that, or Apple will simply move the store to Switzerland, or Lichtenstein, and make it accept French billing information).

    Either way, typical lawmakers.

  1. Benton 03/21, 01:40pm

    "the law has yet to be debated and approved by the Senate--a process that would not begin until at least May"

    Apple will offer no comment until there is reason to act.

    French congressional action will wither and not stand the scrutiny of legal review.

  1. dashiel 03/21, 02:12pm

    "This is the other extreme, unlike in the USA, where lawmakers will bend over backwards to 'protect' the individual"

    what country do you live in? i've seen nothing but a constant increase in corporate protection and decrease in individual protection over the last decade or so.

    as for this law, i'm all for it. the sooner DRM is outlawed the better. france deserves a lot of credit for pioneering this and i just hope the rest of europe follows suit quickly. then maybe it'll pressure the united states to revisit the draconian DRM laws.

  1. Luke MacWalker 03/21, 02:55pm

    "either that, or Apple will simply move the store to Switzerland, or Lichtenstein, and make it accept French billing information"

    No need for that: the europeans iTMS are in Luxemburg already.

  1. beverson 03/21, 03:10pm

    Dashiel, I *think* you and zikdifferent agree — that protection for the consumer is atypical in the States. His/her phrasing is just confusing.

  1. I.P. Freely 03/21, 03:16pm

    you're an idiot.

    DRM does not affect anyone, unless you the consumer decide to take part in it. One way you kill it is by not using it. You do no circumvent it by s******* a company that is playing by the law. You never have to see it, hear it or be part of it. It's call freedom of choice, French Socialist don't know anything about that.

    France can go F**K themselves. Close down iTunes in France and let them go after MS. Their c*** doesn't even play on Mac. I don't see any French law targeting MS on their monopoly.

  1. I.P. Freely 03/21, 03:25pm

    This debate isn't about DRM, it's about closed system. French Government wants Apple to allow 3rd part devices to access iTunes music store.

    Why should Apple be forced to help anyone else... I didn't see any of them helping Apple out when Apple was in financial problems. So somehow Apple has to subsidize all the MP3 business via the ITMS?

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