A digital copyright bill now being considered by the French legislature could cause online music services like Apple's iTunes to abandon the French market, said a report on www.playlist.com.
The French-proposed law would require DRM developers to reveal details of their technology to rivals that wish to build interoperable systems. The bill could affect the FairPlay DRM used by Apple in its iTunes Music Store and iPod music players, and Microsoft's Windows Media DRM. The French National Assembly recently approved the bill, sending it to the Senate for a final vote.
Apple Computer condemned the bill as “state-sponsored piracy” and suggested that legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers. The company also suggested that iPod sales would increase when music is unprotected and that “free movies” would not be far behind.
Michael Gartenberg, JupiterResearch's vice president and research director, said that it's unclear what the French government is trying to accomplish. He noted that a user need only burn purchased songs to a CD and re-import them as MP3s to make them interoperable with any other software or music player.
Apple has gone to great lengths since the opening of the iTunes Music Store to block efforts by shareware developers and companies like Real Networks from breaking its DRM software.
France's action is also not likely to go over well with the record companies that provide online music services with content.