What's Next for the French DRM Bill

The French Lower House approved a bill that would require companies like Apple, Sony and Microsoft to share their DRM technologies in an effort to foster interoperability, but now the Upper House has amended the bill so that online media distributors have a way of keeping their proprietary copy protection schemes private. But before the bill can finally become law, both versions have to be reconciled.

The next step for the French government is to create a blended version of controversial bill, which will likely take place over the next few weeks. Once a compromise has been reached, the bill should become law later this year.

Prior to the amendment, Apple, Sony Microsoft, and other companies with proprietary Digital Rights Management systems were at risk of being forced to reveal their proprietary software to competitors. The companies were predicting that the easy access to copy protection code, coupled with low fines for violating copyrights would result in substantially higher numbers of people stealing music and video content.

Some analysts speculated that if the law were to pass in its original form, Apple would shut down the iTunes Music Store in France.

Although the amendment is a great win for Apple and other Internet-based digital content providers, there is still a chance that things could change before the final version of the bill is drafted. As always, when governments create new legislation, anything can happen.