“French lawmakers want all digital-music players to adopt common software standards. Is this Jobs & Co.’s cue to pack up its iPods and bid the country adieu? The French have done it again. In an attempt to update copyright laws for the 21st century, lawmakers in France have thrown a giant spanner in the works of the nascent online digital music business. Late on Mar. 21, the lower house of the legislature, the Assemblé National, passed a law that will require sellers of digital-music players and online music services in France to open up their technical standards and become entirely interoperable,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek.
“The law, passed by the National Assembly by a vote of 296 to 193, requires companies that sell digital-music files in France to open up their digital rights management systems so that the files can be played on any device. The law, if ultimately enacted, may set the stage for Apple to shut down its digital-music sales operations in the country, though Apple hasn’t said one way or the other if that is the case,” Hesseldahl writes. “Apple has sold more than a billion songs worldwide since launching the online service in 2003. But its songs are playable only on the ubiquitous iPod portable music player.”
MacDailyNews Note: iTunes Music Store songs are also playable on any Mac or Windows personal computer. You do not even need an iPod to purchase and listen to music from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. As has always been the case, purchased songs can be burned to music CD and imported into any device.
Hesseldahl continues, “…The nuclear option: Pull iTunes out of France entirely. The potential of boosting sales of iTunes downloads, on which Apple makes only a few pennies, at the cost of losing sales of iPods, on which Apple can make a 50% margin, isn’t much of a business trade-off. ‘Remember that the iPod drives iTunes downloads, not the other way around,’ says Michael Gartenberg, analyst with Jupiter Research in New York.”
Full article here.
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Wired’s Kahney: Proposed French copyright protection law a good thing for consumers in the long run – March 22, 2006
Apple calls proposed French DRM law ‘state-sponsored piracy,’ predicts iPod sales increase – March 21, 2006
French National Assembly approves digital copyright bill; could affect Apple’s FairPlay DRM – March 21, 2006