Wired’s Kahney: Proposed French copyright protection law a good thing for consumers in the long run

“New legislation in France would force Apple Computer to open the iPod and iTunes to competitors — and that’s a good thing for consumers, in the long run,” Leander Kahney writes for Wired News. “On Tuesday, the French parliament passed a law that would require digital content bought at any online store to be playable on any hardware. The law would be applicable to all hardware and service providers, but the immediate impact would be on Apple and iTunes, and may prompt the company to withdraw from France.”

“To many, France’s move seems patently unfair to Apple,” Kahney writes. “The company created the market for legal music downloads, why shouldn’t it dominate it? Why should the French government help competitors like Microsoft or Sony to get a foothold in a market they have proven incapable of competing in? And why should Apple be subject to antimonopoly legislation when rivals like Microsoft traditionally have not? To free marketers, it’s government meddling at its worst.”

“But French legislators aren’t just looking at Apple,” Kahney writes. “They’re looking ahead to a time when most entertainment is online, a shift with profound consequences for consumers and culture in general. French lawmakers want to protect the consumer from one or two companies holding the keys to all of its culture, just as Microsoft holds the keys to today’s desktop computers… Apple may not qualify as a literal monopoly — there are lots of ways to get music and buying online accounts for only a small fraction of total music sales. But the sliver it does control it controls almost completely, and it’s not out of the question to suggest that this sliver will ultimately become the only way people will buy music in the future.”

Full article here.
In the United States, at least, it is not illegal to build and have a monopoly; it’s illegal to abuse a monopoly. Ask Microsoft about that concept.

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Related articles:
Will Apple’s Steve Jobs bid France adieu? – 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


  1. This guy is just a complete Mac hater. He is a tool of MS and has unabashedly dissed Steve Jobs and Apple many times – all the while hiding behind the “Cult of Mac” section of Wired.

    He’s gone crazy.

    — ndb

  2. the word “Monopoly” has TURNED into the word “Majority” to many people…

    75% control of a market is NOT a Monopoly! 95% control of a market, now that’s a monopoly!

    Plus, who the hell do the French think they are to decide that music purchased in one format shoudl be freely converted to another? If I buy a movie on VHS, does the studio owe me a DVD copy? Why not?

    And who said you have to own an iPod to play iTunes?
    iTunes can be played on iPods and Motorola phones as well as any computer running OS X or Windows XP.

    The French really ought to just giveup on this one, it’s what they do best anyway.

  3. A monopoly is a monopoly is a monopoly. You didn’t like it when Microsoft got there’s and said so, so why are all you maczealots defending Apple’s right to have their very own monopoly? What is it?: Now we get to be assh*les too?
    btw, didn’t you know that 74 per cent is the threshold to officially be considered a monopoly.
    Anyways, If I buy a music CD I can play it anywhere and it should be that way with online music. And 128kb is sub standard for quality.

  4. The death of subscription services. The obvious answer to this law is to start selling without DRM. If Apple does this, they’d have to sell MP3s not AAC since everyone has been avoiding AAC so they could call Apple proprietary. Now assuming other music sellers have to use the common standard of MP3, either they pay music comps “subscription” price and screw them over, or they force all downloads to be purchase only and end all subscriptions. I suspect the music biz will allow the 1st option as long as Apple is still #1, then complain about lost profits later.

  5. Having a choice of store to buy music from for an iPod sounds like a good move to me. Competition is good. Apple didnt get where it is by not competing. It needs to continue to compete to stay there not create lockins

  6. “Apple initially balked at copy protection, but as the iPod and iTunes took off, the company realized FairPlay had an important secondary function: It locked iPod users into the online iTunes Music Store, and iTunes music buyers into the iPod.”

    Absolutely false! You don’t need any iPod when you buy music at the ITMS; and the music bought at the ITMS can be played everywhere! Convert it on mp3…

  7. “OK, I want Halo for Playstation.
    Force Microsoft to make all Xbox exclusive games available to Playstation.”

    Actually, that would nice. It would be nice to pick up a game and be able to play it on different consoles where the consumer can decide which company makes the best or fastest console. Of course, that could never happen because the different consoles have different architectures that require the games to be programmed differently.

    However, that is NOT the case with music, or at least, it shouldn’t be that way. Although, that is the direction that Apple is going. They are creating a world where you need to repurchase the music or jump through hoops to convert it just so that you can legally listen to it on another device. Is that really what you people want? Do you really want to HAVE to purchase all Apple products just to listen to music or watch videos? They may not be there yet, but that’s the direction they are headed.

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