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French consumer friendly DRM legislation gutted

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 03 May 2006 16:54 User comments (5)

French consumer friendly DRM legislation gutted Consumer friendly French DRM legislation has been spoiled in committee, sending consumer groups up in arms. The legislation had originally included provisions that would have forced tech companies to make their Digital Rights Management technology interoperable (meaning copy protected music sold online should be playable on any MP3 player for example). This would have struck hard at Apple's iTunes and iPod combination, which has helped Apple dominate the music download and MP3 player markets.
Apple completely refuses to license its FairPlay digital rights management system to any other company, and why would it? Music bought from iTunes can only be played on an iPod or some Motorola phones, and music from other online music stores don't work on an iPod (if they are protected with Windows Media DRM for example). So it's a perfect combination and keeps millions of dollars flowing toward the company.

In the midst of the controversy surrounding the French legislation, it was rumored that Apple would pull iTunes from France completely to avoid opening FairPlay. The company trashed the legislation as "state sponsored piracy". However, many of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten. Here are some examples from Ars technica...

  • Previously, "information needed for interoperability" covered "technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information." Now this has been changed to "technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work." But a "protected" version of the work can't be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won't be attained with this clause.
  • Previously, the only condition for receiving information needed for interoperability was to meet the cost of logistics of delivering the information. Now, anyone wanting to build a player will have to take a license on "reasonable and non discriminatory conditions, and an appropriate fee." When using information attained under such a license, you will have to "respect the efficiency and integrity of the technical measure."
  • DRM publishers can demand the retraction of publication of the source-code for interoperable, independent software, if it can prove that the source-code is "harmful to the security and the efficiency of the DRM."

These new changes have still to be voted on, and consumer groups intend to fight against this one as hard as they can. has called for a demonstration in the Place de la Bastille on May 7.

Ars technica

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5 user comments

13.5.2006 17:16

I feel for the downloaders of these DRM-crippled, poorly encoded music files..

23.5.2006 19:44

If online music stores offered music tracks at a higher bitrate than the lowly 128kbps more people may actually stop downloading music off P2P networks and turn to the music stores.

34.5.2006 13:14

Buy the product in stores, problem solved.

44.5.2006 14:45

Yeah you could always buy it but then what happens if you buy one of sonys cd's?? Would you rather have DRM'ed files or rootkit infected files??

54.5.2006 14:53

Would you rather have DRM'ed files or rootkit infected files??
Well, neither. However, if you look at the bigger picture, Sony's rootkit can be patched and addressed now, but once you have poorly encoded, DRM encrypted files, they are staying that way..

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