France Approves DRM Law

by , 9:35 AM EDT, June 30th, 2006

The French government passed the bill designed to open copy protection schemes into law on Friday. The law says that companies like Apple, Microsoft and Sony should open their digital rights management (DRM) copy protection schemes to competitors so that all music downloads can be played on any portable music device.

According to Forbes, there is still one last chance to shoot down the law since French opposition Socialists filed a constitutional challenge last week. Unless the challenge succeeds, the law will go into effect as planned.

The law does, however, still contain "loophole" language that allows companies to refuse to share their proprietary copy protection technology as long as music copyright holders and musicians agree to new contracts.

Apple and other music distributors have been opposed to the law, stating that forcing companies to open their copy protection technology will lead to more music piracy and hurt the market. Apple went so far as to call the original version of the legislation "state-sponsored piracy."

Some industry analysts have predicted that Apple may close down the iTunes Music Store in France to avoid the possibility of being required to share the code behind its FairPlay copy protection. Right now, music purchased from the iTunes Music Store will only play on the iPod.

Representatives from Apple were not available for comment.