Vive l’iTunes!  French ‘state-sponsored piracy’ DRM law gutted in committee

“It didn’t take long for the new French DRM legislation to get spoiled in committee, and you can’t blame French consumers for expecting canard à l’orange and being served some very dodgy escargot instead,” Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technica. “No one was surprised when the proposed French law was trashed by Apple as ‘state-sponsored piracy.’ There was even speculation that Apple might leave France altogether rather than risk opening its Fairplay system. It looks like the French will still get to keep their iTunes Music Store, though, since the original bill was recently gutted in committee. Most of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten.”

“The new changes will be voted on soon, but they already have some French consumer groups up in arms. As anyone who has ever relied on RATP to get to work knows, the French are very, very gifted in the art of the strike, and has called for one in the Place de la Bastille on May 7. Will anyone show up? Perhaps. 22 percent of under-25 workers are unemployed, and they’re willing to take to the streets. If they’re as concerned about DRM as about having jobs for life, the rally could be huge,” Anderson reports.

More details in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Too Hot!” for the heads up.]

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Related articles:
Force open Apple’s FairPlay? What has possessed the French this time? – April 27, 2006
French Trade Minister: Apple’s iTunes must play fair in French music market – April 14, 2006
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. “Most of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten…”

    translation: Most of the anti-business and pro-theft provisions have been removed.

  2. All through this debacle, I’ve tried to warn readers not to get too heated up over this story.

    It’s very common for the French legislature to make proposals which sound very far-reaching, while the actual finalised laws bear minimal resemblance to what was originally being talked about.


    See what this bill would allow is for a company like Microsoft to design a product with DRM that required certain processors to decode and Apple would have to follow suit in their product line in order to meet the French law.

    Apple sure as heck would have to pull out given that option.

    Sometimes a law looks good, but can be used to crush a compeitior.

    Now if they insisted the DRM music be changed free of charge to a alternate DRM scheme then that’s a different story. It would achieve the same results.

    Get tired of iPods? Want a Creative Zoo box? Run the ACC DRM through a specialized program and then it’s WMA DRM.

    Of course all the music we buy via iTMS has records associated with it, kind of hard t keep track of who owns what.

  4. I for one hate the DRM. I know what it’s for but I still hate it.

    Which consumer likes it? Personally I think the French move was very pro-consumer (what I know of it), but I understand why it was struck down too.

    I just think it’s odd that Steve Jobs had to defend it and not the music industry. It’s only benefit for Apple is that it makes the music boys happy and they continue to sell songs through iTunes.

    Maybe the music industry was present. Who can tell by the pathetic American news.

    But I still hate DRM.


    “Jobs for life!” hey at least they’re willing to get off their ass “FOR work” instead of watching TV and doing NOTHING.

  5. This has been quite a day for Apple: first the record labels knuckled under, and now the French. You’re next Yoko! Winning the Apple v. Apple suit would complete the trifecta.

  6. oh goody!

    i wanted to be locked into itunes for music and movies for the rest of my life. it makes me happy to know that i’ll never have any choice, unless of course, i don’t want to use my movies and music purchased from the store anymore.

    oh right, this is a pro-apple site… hm. down with the french! itunes is great! i swallowed the red pill!

  7. I’ve been saying all along, the french will back down. They always have and always will. Some may try and label this as anti-french, or maybe even worse. It’s not. It’s just the truth.

    Sad thing that’s happening to the french people.

    MDN word is “last”, as in

    will the last french politician who is not a communist please speak up?

    (crickets chirping)

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