“Leading lawmakers have agreed to water down a draft law that could have threatened the future of the iPod in France,” Laurence Frost and Nathalie Shuck report for The Associated Press. “The National Assembly had voted in March to force Apple Computer Inc. and other companies to make their music players and online stores compatible with rivals, but key members now say they have agreed to weaker measures endorsed by senators.”
“Currently, tunes purchased at Apple’s iTunes Music Store won’t play on music players sold by Apple rivals. Likewise, an Apple iPod can’t play songs bought on Napster Inc. or other rival music stores. Critics have called the restrictions anti-competitive and anti-consumer,” Frost and Shuck report. “The draft adopted by the Assembly, France’s lower house, contained a blanket demand that companies share their exclusive copy-protection technologies with rivals, effectively free of charge.”
Frost and Shuck report, “But the compromise, due to be approved Thursday by a committee of legislators from both houses, maintains a Senate loophole that could allow Apple and others to sidestep that requirement by striking new deals with record labels and artists.”
Frost and Shuck report, “A new regulatory authority would be given the power to resolve disputes by ordering companies to license their exclusive file formats to rivals – but only if the restrictions they impose are ‘additional to, or independent of, those explicitly decided by the copyright holders.’ This means that Apple and Sony Corp. could avoid having to share their FairPlay and ATRAC3 file formats, lawyers say, if they obtained permission from the artists whose music they sell… The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company declined to comment Wednesday.”
More details in the full article here.
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