US Commerce Secretary Gutierrez backs Apple against proposed French copyright law

“US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez backed angry protests by Apple Computer over a new French law that would throw open Apple’s popular online music store to competitors,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. “Speaking on the CNBC network, Gutierrez said he needed to make further study of the copyright law passed by the French parliament’s lower house this week. ‘But any time something like this happens, any time that we believe that intellectual property rights are being violated, we need to speak up and in this case, the company is taking the initiative,’ he said. ‘I would compliment that company because we need for companies to also stand up for their intellectual property rights,’ Gutierrez said. ‘If we all do that, have the government work with other governments, have companies defend and protect their own intellectual property, then we’ll be able to make more progress on a worldwide basis.'”

Full article here.

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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

33 Comments

  1. “I have sampled every language, but french is my favorite. Fantastic language, especially to curse with: Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d’enculé de ta mère. It’s like wiping your ass with silk.” ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Seems more like a boilerplate generic statesmanspeak rather than any sort of firm backing of Apple, some times it’s hard to wade through the political gobbledy gook and figure out what some officials are really saying. This is one of those cases.

  3. qka – may I say for the record:

    Personne n’ont jamais douté de votre utilisation intelligente de l’anglais. Ainsi, vous n’avez pas dû expliquer ou s’exposer.

    So there. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. If Carlos Gutierrez thinks that he knows exactly what the proposed French law means for Apple, then he’s deluding himself.

    It hasn’t been made law, it’s still a proposal and may be changed considerably before it’s finally passed.

    Like all laws, it’s the precise details that matter and they haven’t been finalised. As I understand it, the intention appears to be to ensure that either customers buying music in one format can’t be prevented from converting it to another – for their own use, or that companies must provide the means for music to be changed from one format to another. Some press reports interpret that as meaning that Apple will be compelled to open up AAC/FairPlay to it’s rivals, but I’ve not seen that interpretation coming from French sources.

    Whatever happens, any conversion will be for personal use and users can be penalised for pirating. However, there are other aspects which have been reported which cloud the issue.

    It could be argued that Apple are already in compliance with that principle as they permit AAC/FairPlay tracks to be burnt to CD, which removes the DRM and allows that music to be used on any system.

    Until the required degree of inter-operation between formats is precisely defined, comments about the implications for Apple, or any other company, are merely speculation.

  5. Tommy Boy

    “France is a state of the European Union, and by treaty France has ceded to the EU much sovereignty regarding commerce and IP.”

    Sadly, the French see it differently. In their view, the entire EU is there for the benefit of the French and the French only, so they conveniently ignore any aspect of membership that they don’t like.

    For example, their near permanent ban on the import of British meat. Now finally shifted, but how many EU laws did France break in the process?

  6. Well I am only assuming it but as it has passed the lower house its details must surely have been worked out pretty substantially unless the French Parliament works very differently to here in the UK. Sure Laws and Bills can be modified on route but usually that is more prevalent when a Bill fails to gain enough support or defeated at the first or subsequent hurdles. This one passed with a reasonable majority so I suspect that only the nitty gritty of the details will still have to be sorted out, though yes I accept that the details and how they are interpreted will/could make a substantial difference. After all the French interpretation of the new EU copyright laws is the reason this Bill was initiated in the first place.

    A couple points though. Does this only apply to mobile devices or to downloads generally? If the latter then surely most (or at least a substantial amount) of DRM material will actually be played on computers and media devices in many forms in the home, certainly once the new generation of TV/stereo/media equipment comes to market. If so then how does it affect matters if WMA is dominant on these devises. Surely WMA DRM will have to be transferable to AAC and others (ATRAC) especially if some form of Windows OS is involved in these devices, other OS systems will be totally excluded. Does this Bill account for this? If not then Apple is correct to be very concerned as effectively it could damage competition rather than improve it and even take OSX and the Mac out of the competition altogether in the long term. Microsoft (and its ‘partners’) are already trying to do this, we don’t need Governments giving them a helping hand.

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