Friday, March 17, 2006

France: Who needs technical prowess? We’ve got legislative blackmail.
French Draft Law Threatens iPod's Future

PARIS (AP) -- Apple Computer Inc. faces a serious challenge in France, where lawmakers have moved to sever the umbilical cord between its iPod player and iTunes online music store - threatening its lucrative hold on both markets.

Amendments to an online copyright bill, adopted early Friday, would give rivals access to the hitherto-exclusive file formats at the heart of Apple's music business model as well as Sony Corp.'s Walkman players and Connect store.

Thanks to the massive success of the iPod models, which account for two out of every three music players sold worldwide, iTunes has also become the global leader in online music sales. The iPod is currently designed not to play music from other commercial music services.

According to the latest amendments, however, copy-protection technologies like Apple's exclusive FairPlay format and Sony's ATRAC3 "must not result in the prevention of the effective application of interoperability."

Companies would have to share all "information essential to the interoperability" of their copy-protection formats with any rival that requests it. If they refuse, a judge can order its delivery, on pain of fines...

I commented earlier that “democratic socialism” has turned Europe into a cabal of truculent spoiled children. Clearly, France leads the brat pack.

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