iTunes Under Siege In France

    March 20, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Apple has made a tidy profit on its iPod music player, the only device that can accept music downloads directly from iTunes; the French government wants iTunes to be able to place music on any digital media player.

After their call to arms by French President Chirac to top Google at search was laughed off the Internet, the French retreated to their dismal cafs to smoke evil cigarettes and plot against American technical superiority again.

Apparenly, someone with a wacky sense of humor, and we’re guessing we can thank our British friends, has suggested the French force Apple to open up its Fairplay DRM scheme and permit users to download songs from iTunes to any media player.

The concept has captured the fancy of France’s parliament, Reuters reported. Essentially, cracking Apple’s DRM would not be a crime:

“It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up…You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,” Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France, told Reuters in a telephone interview Monday.

“The person who will have converted iTunes songs will be able to make it available elsewhere,” Marc Guez, head of the French Collecting Society for Music Producers rights (SCPP), told Reuters.

We imagine that Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ gently-cooling body will be laying in state at 1 Infinite Loop for a national 10-day period of mourning before he allows iTunes to continue operating in France should the legislation find its way into law.

French legislators get their first chance at voting on the proposed copyright law on March 21st. Martin Rogard, an advisor to the French Culture Minister, told Bloomberg why this legislation has become an important issue in France:

“Someone who buys a song has to be able to listen to it, no matter which device or the software of choice,” Rogard said in an interview on Friday. If the interoperability articles are approved, “we’ll see if we can push this on a European level.”

A proprietary format such as Apple’s iTunes “is not in the interest of the consumer, nor the interest of the creator. It only benefits the company and we’re there to defend the consumer, our citizens,” Rogard said.

Those proprietary formats include Apple’s and Microsoft’s DRM scheme. Microsoft DRM can be found on songs from most other digital music services that do not have iTunes in their name. And Microsoft will be no more interested in opening up its DRM than Apple.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.