French Trade Minister: Apple’s iTunes must play fair in French music market

“Apple Computer Inc. should have anticipated that the exclusive union of its iPod music players and online iTunes store would be challenged in France, Trade Minister Christine Lagarde said. ‘It should come as no surprise,’ Lagarde told reporters during a visit to San Francisco. The trade minister made the remark when asked what she might say to Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs about a proposed copyright bill in France that would sever the link between the company’s iPod players and iTunes online music store. ‘Any time a company restricts competition in a market, it gets the attention of regulating agencies. We have to play by the rules of the game,’ she said,” AFP reports.

“A copyright bill before the French parliament on downloading music and films could lead the online music store, Apple’s iTunes, to withdraw from France because it would be reluctant to opening up its proprietary system, experts say. Apple Computer Inc. has always refused to allow its paid-for music files downloaded via iTunes to be converted into another format, which would allow them to be listened to on a music player other than its iPod. But French lawmakers last month adopted two amendments insisting on ‘interoperability,’ which would permit an Internet user to copy and read downloaded files on a service of his choice,” AFP reports. “France and millions of its iPod using teen-agers were too valuable a market for Apple to ignore, Lagarde said… Lagarde condemned critics that suggest France should fix anachronistic political or labor policies before courting high technology businesses to invest or open shop there. ‘I don’t want the crap,’ Lagarde said. ‘It annoys me when France is portrayed as an awkward, backward country. It is not.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The French have cornered the market on delusions of grandeur. The 17th century ended long ago, garçons et filles.

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Related articles:
JP Morgan: French DRM law will have limited impact on Apple Computer – March 28, 2006
Dvorak: What the French got right with proposed DRM law – March 28, 2006
Will Apple’s Steve Jobs bid France adieu? – March 22, 2006
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


  1. I wouldn’t go so far as to condemn all of france. But it does seem that they don’t fully understand the implications of these new laws they’re trying to pass.

    And I still don’t understand why they don’t consider burning a CD, then re-ripping it to be a form of interoperability. The only option that anyone had to “buy” their music (not just rent it) before the iTMS was to put on a pair of shoes, walk into town, pick out the CD they were interested in, and pay a ludicrous amount of money for it before even having a chance to know whether they liked it or not!! Now, today, I can use the iTMS, download an album for almost only half the price of the CD, burn it to a physical CD, and then rip that to my Samsung/Creative/Who-Gives-a-Shite MP3 player. And I’ve STILL saved both money and time. And have complete interoperability.

    What is wrong with this friggen world. Has everyone lost their mind? or are we all so greedy and lazy that no matter how good anything gets all we can do is b!+(h.

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