Apple Still Unhappy with French Bill

by , 11:25 AM EDT, June 23rd, 2006

French lawmakers approved new wording to the bill that was to force companies to share their digital rights management technology (DRM), but Apple doesn't think the changes go far enough. The new wording provides a loophole for digital music providers that allows them to keep their DRM technologies private by signing new contracts with music labels and artists.

Apple issued a statement after the vote that said "We are awaiting the final result of France's legislative process, and hope they let the extremely competitive marketplace driven by customer choice decide which music players and online music stores are offered to consumers," according to The New York Times.

When the bill was originally introduced in the French Lower House earlier this year, it contained wording that would require companies that offer digital music downloads with embedded copy protection to share their technology with competitors. The idea was to create an open environment where consumers could download music from any service and listen to it on any portable music player. Many saw the move as a direct assault on Apple and its market dominance with the iPod and iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

Apple said the original version amounted to "state sponsored piracy," since anyone would have the ability to bypass music copy protection.

The iPod maker has not explicitly said that it will shut down the iTMS in France if the bill becomes law, but many analysts are speculating that Apple may do just that.

Although Apple isn't elaborating, it's likely that company representatives won't be satisfied with any wording changes in the French bill, and are hoping instead that the bill doesn't pass the final vote later this year.