French lawmakers give final approval to watered-down ‘iTunes law’

“French lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation that could force Apple Computer Inc. to make its iPod and iTunes Music Store compatible with rivals’ music players and online services,” Laurence Frost and Nathalie Schuck report for The Associated Press. “The vote was the final legislative step before the bill becomes law — barring the success of a last-ditch constitutional challenge filed last week by the opposition Socialists.”

“Currently, songs bought on iTunes can be played only on iPods, and an iPod can’t play downloads from other stores that rival the extensive iTunes music catalog from major artists and labels,” Frost and Schuck report. “The final compromise asserts that companies should share the required technical data with any rival that wants to offer compatible music players and online stores, but it toned down many of the tougher measures backed by lower-house lawmakers early on. It also maintained a loophole introduced by senators, which could allow Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple and others to dodge the data-sharing demands by striking new deals with record labels and artists.”

Full article here.
Apple to music labels: You will tell us that you have explicitly decided and approved that our FairPlay DRM must be included on music offered via iTunes Music Store. Sign here. Fini.

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Related articles:
Apple awaits final approval of French DRM Legislation – June 23, 2006
French lawmakers agree to water down DRM bill that would affect Apple’s iTunes – June 21, 2006
It’s no wonder EMI is supporting Apple in France – May 23, 2006
EMI backs Apple on French DRM law – May 23, 2006
BusinessWeek: still very possible that Apple will close iTunes Music Store in France – May 12, 2006
French copyright bill approved: Apple will not have to share FairPlay DRM details with competitors – May 11, 2006
French Senate vote could offer loophole for Apple’s iTunes – May 09, 2006
Vive l’iTunes! French ‘state-sponsored piracy’ DRM law gutted in committee – May 01, 2006
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

Can Scandinavians really force Apple to change iTunes Store terms? – June 16, 2006
Scandinavian triumvirate extends deadline to August 1 for Apple to reply to iTunes concerns – June 14, 2006
Norway gives Apple until June 21 to change iTunes Music Store terms – June 12, 2006
Norway: iTMS DRM under scrutiny, Microsoft DRM next – June 09, 2006
Consumer Council of Norway files a complaint regarding Apple iTunes Music Store’s terms of service – January 27, 2006


  1. Congrats to the French, they’ve just closed the best online store in the world in there area. Have fun pirating! The record labels will not have Apple sell there music without DRM period!

  2. I don’t like DRM, but I can live with Apple’s version because if you know what your doing, you can get around it.

    What’s important is that the artists are on board bringing thier content to iTMS because of the DRM.

    Apple needs to maintain complete control over the DRM because they are carefully balancing the needs of both artists and customers.

    Having some third rate company like Microsoft or Real throwing money wrenches in their DRM schemes and forcing Apple to play along to gain market share for them is not going to create stability in the marketplace.

    Consumers have a choice NOT to buy DRMed music, most get it for free or via sites like Those of us that choose to buy Apple’s DRM music know very well the hardware lock that comes with it.

    But like I said, if you know what your doing, the hardware lock on iTMS is easily circumvented.

  3. “Currently, songs bought on iTunes can be played only on iPods…”

    We know this to be false, but the law is an ass, as always. Right, it ain’t a one-step process, but it’s not forbidden.

    “…and an iPod can’t play downloads from other stores”

    This is more the case, as it doesn’t play WMA crap, and who in hell wants it to? But, it will play absolutely anything in several other formats, so, seems to me the store that only sells WMA stuff is more the exclusionary force here.

  4. Apple can’t open thier music in France to play on other players or all countries will demand the same. The only option is for Apple to shut down iTunes in France and show the world that they won’t be bullied.

    Take that you hairy arm pit french women and beret wearing bastards!

  5. To the people still saying that Apple should just leave France please keep up. The laws current language lets any company out of the requirement to open up their store if they get the record labels to state that they won’t allow their content to be sold without DRM. Everyone signs papers forbidding Apple from taking part and Apple is expemted, as is every other store because the labels will happily keep control of their music.

    To the person who said:
    “we’d love to sign your new contract to keep you in business in France,… right after you sign our new US contract.”

    I don’t think it requires an all new contract, just a statement, maybe a signed affadavit saying “You have to sell my music using DRM or you can’t sell it at all”. If the labels don’t sign it Apple could threaten to open up the french store, and I bet Big Music is more afraid of piracy than Apple is of an open solution.

    To the person who said you can get around iTunes’ DRM yes you can but contrary to your statement it is forbidden. If it’s not expressly forbidden in the license you get from ITMS it is forbidden by the DMCA to circumvent any copyright protection scheme.

    To all the France haters: STFU So someone did something you didn’t like. Get over it. This law hardly defines the French as a people and like most hateful poeple you probably don’t have a basic understanding if the French people or their politics or philosophy. If I saw an argument on here like “French egalatarianism is impossible in a productive competitive economy” maybe I could understand your point. Instead all we hear is “Goddam frenchies don’t shave and their cheese smells like my feet. fuckin grosss!!!1one”

    Word: food, as in the French make some very good food.

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