“Take a complicated issue such as copyrights in the Digital Age. Throw in a generous helping of French politics and stir it with a dash of socialist ideology. The resulting concoction might not taste very good to executives of Apple Computer, and indeed could force the computer maker to change the way it does business in the Fifth Republic,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “On Mar. 16, France’s National Assembly is expected to vote on legislation known as the author’s rights law. Among its many provisions, the bill calls for lightening the punishment on unauthorized downloads of copyrighted music.”
“If passed — which some say is unlikely — the legislation would also require digital music vendors like Apple, Vivendi Universal, and Virgin Megastores, which all operate music-download services in France, to sell music that is compatible with all media players. This provision would hit Apple particularly hard because the computer maker sells music that is compatible only with its own iPod player,” Hesseldahl writes.
“Apple doesn’t give a geographic breakdown of the results of its iTunes or iPod operations. Its overall European division reported a $174 million operating profit on sales of a little more than $1.2 billion in the most recent quarter. Apple sold more than 14 million iPod players around the world and 387,000 of its Macintosh computers in Europe in the same period. In February, Apple said it had sold 1 billion songs via its iTunes store over the course of its three-year history, though it hasn’t said how many of those were in France, home to 62 million people,” Hesseldahl writes. “If passed, the author’s rights law would be a hazard of doing business in the land of liberte, egalite, and fraternite — or in the case of Apple, a good reason not to.”
Full article here.
Yesterday, we covered an Agence France-Presse report that said that lawmakers from France’s ruling conservative party have blocked a move to legalize Internet downloading of movie and music files, after several days of sharp debate in parliament. We’ll have to wait for the official vote tomorrow to know for sure.
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Law that could have forced Apple to open iTunes Music Store to non-iPod devices blocked in France – March 14, 2006
French law would force Apple to open iTunes Music Store to non-iPod devices – March 13, 2006