Friday, May 12, 2006

The French senate passes amended bill to open music stores up - what will Apple do?

The French Senate has made changes to a controversial copyright bill that threatens Apple Computer's grip on the online music market by making it open its iTunes store to portable music players other than iPods.

Under the recently amended version of the bill, a company that agrees to provide these codes will receive a license fee as compensation along with guarantees that the transfer of information will not weaken its copyright protection measures.

Which is really just a load of bureaucratic and legalistic mumbo jumbo designed to stop Apple from packing up iTunes up and leaving France for good or until they repeal the law.

The reality is that France is trying to take control away from any technology company's particular approach to digital rights management (DRM). While this may seem a noble cause for the lowly citizen of the Rebublique, it is a disincentive for the developers of DRM to operate in France and will therefore merely serve to provide the French with less technology choices than before.

And the iPod and iTunes are so popular that you may just find the French moving abroad in droves so that they can still look chic a la Apple - dood! But then again that would solve another bunch of problems for the politicians of France - for without any citizens to represent their life would be a lot easier!

France has probably yet again misunderstood and disincentivised global tech leaders who are unlikely to undermine their vital DRM strategies just to operate in little old France. And they will probably face the embarrassment of losing iTunes in anycase - for their bill creates too many dangerous legal precedents for Apple.

Maybe Chirac should just do what he normally does - which is scrap the bill and about face.

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