French law that would force Apple to open iTunes Music Store to non-iPod devices far from settled

“In the digital music market, France is singing a different tune. A bill under debate in the French Parliament may require iPods to be able to play music purchased from competing Internet services, not just Apple Computer’s own iTunes Music Store, forcing changes in the business model that gave rise to the revolution in legal digital music downloads,” Thomas Crampton reports for The New York Times. “The outcome of the debate, which began as an update to French copyright law, is far from clear. But taken to one logical conclusion, amendments to the copyright bill could lead Apple, the market leader, to leave the French music business, said Jonathan Arber, a research analyst in London at the technology consultancy Ovum.”

“‘My gut feeling is that Apple will simply pull out of France if these amendments get through,’ Mr. Arber said. ‘Weighed against breaking their business model for all markets, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to continue operating with the iPod and iTunes in France.’ Debate lasted late into Thursday night; a vote in the National Assembly is set for next week. The bill, which also proposes to turn individual digital piracy into a violation no more serious than a parking ticket, would go next to the Senate, where it is unlikely to be altered significantly, political analysts say,” Crampton reports. “Some critics say the plan is technically unworkable, unfairly undermines Apple and opens the door to more piracy by crippling technology that protects copyrights. Supporters see France setting a long-overdue legal precedent that opens Apple’s closed iPod-iTunes digital music system to competition.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
If passed, French law would force Apple to open iTunes Music Store to non-iPod devices – March 15, 2006
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

25 Comments

  1. I don’t get it.. bought some tunes off of iTunes last night, burned them, played it in my DVD player, sounded great via the little 2.1 system i’ve got plugged into my TV. Didn’t seem very ‘closed’ to me. Are there other Mp3 players out there besides iPods? Because of course the songs sound great on my Nano as well. I’d say my experience is more the norm than worth changing some rules only to benefit some lame Mp3 players that no one will/should buy anyway.

  2. “Shocking, isn’t it? The law favouring the consumer rather than a large corporation!”

    It won’t favor the consumer if Apple pulls out of France! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Actually, this is a good thing, especially for the consumer, which is what I think most of us would consider ourselves. The possible implications would be…

    1) iTunes songs would be able to work on competing mp3 players. Is this really a problem for Apple? Not really. Not when the far majority of mp3 players sold are iPods. Additionally, I don’t think that most people buy iPods just because they like the iTMS.

    2) Competing music stores would more seamlessly work with iPods. How is this a bad thing? If you can’t find a song at the iTMS, but you find it elsewhere, now you can buy it and play it on your iPod. This wouldn’t hurt iTMS sales, and it wouldn’t hurt iPod sales.

  4. “Okay, they may be a bit overboard but I don’t remember any of us Mac fans giving the Europeans grief when they were sticking it to Microsoft (and still are) over some of their Windoze business modelling.”

    I’d say the media is talking about similar things. This one talked about Apple pulling out of France and I read one they other day saying that MS should pull out of Europe to get out of the antitrust laws. I’d say both should do it, so I’m giving them fair treatment…..

  5. it may ruin at least Apple’s French market… how would people not buying exclusively from iTunes vs other online sources benefit Apple? I confess I’m not sure exactly how things would work out. For the record I prefer buying CDs, preferribly used, and then ripping them. Using that method I have backup automatically, and the original file is far superior to anything found online. I’ve only bought a few songs this way, (iTunes) because the artist was new to me, couldn’t find it used, didn’t want to buy the whole CD knowing so far that I just liked the one song. I got a $3.00 EP instead. in case your curious, it was Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”, yes I’m a bit behind the curve…not that new anymore.

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