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Apple: French Law Promotes Piracy

Apple: French Law Promotes Piracy

by , 7:40 AM EST, March 22nd, 2006

A law that will require companies like Apple, Sony and Microsoft to share Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology with each other made it through the French government's lower house on Tuesday prompted Apple to say that the legislation will promote music and video piracy. The bill, however, isn't law yet. It still has to pass a vote in the French Senate, which could be weeks or months away.

An Apple spokesperson commented "The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy. If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers."

The French are working to enact the law to avoid, in part, the possibility of a music and video download monopoly, and are citing the need for device and service interoperability. If the law passes, some analysts expect Apple to shut down the French iTunes Music Store instead of opening it's FairPlay DRM to competitors.

Jonathan Arber, an analyst at Ovum, commented to Bloomberg that Apple was going to have a strong reaction to the French bill because the iTunes Music Store is built on the "lack of interoperability with other devices and services."

According to Apple, iPod sales are likely to increase as French consumers load up on interoperable songs that can't be adequately protected. "Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy."

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