AfterDawn: Tech news

France tones-down plans for DRM-busting law

Written by Ben Reid @ 23 Jun 2006 21:23 User comments (19)

France tones-down plans for DRM-busting law French lawmakers have given approval to the watered-down version of a controversial law that would have allowed people to crack Digital Rights Management (DRM) protections & force online music outlets such as Apple's iTunes Music Store to open up DRM systems, so that consumers can play the songs purchased on all portable MP3 devices and computers that are designed to work with another music store.
Apple had always strongly opposed the original draft of the bill, branding it "state sponsored piracy", and there were even suggestions it might disconnect all iTunes operations from France completely if the bill was passed, rather than share DRM secrets with the likes of Microsoft.

Whilst the revised bill still says that all systems must inter-operate, it doesn't have to be enforced if the online music stores have the permission to use DRM from the rights holders, such as musicians and record labels.

The law could, in France at least, spark a power shift between Apple and the major labels. Until now, Apple has held the upper hand as it runs the hugely popular iTunes service, which sells all music at the same price - something which the labels do not like. But if Apple were to require permission from music labels to carry on trading under the same terms in France, that could shift the balance of power, according to industry observers.

The bill must still win approval from both houses of the French parliament. The first vote on it is expected next week.

ZDNet News, and

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19 user comments

124.6.2006 7:02

The French have got something right then! Bravo, what an idea!

224.6.2006 7:58

I don't understand why Apple is always singled out for it's DRM not being able to be played on other devices. Don't other online music services have a similiar DRM?

324.6.2006 8:14

No, or at least not to such an extent. Hence why they're singled out, not to mention that they are a more major company than a lot of other smaller music providers.

424.6.2006 8:58

Finally the French do something of note! lol no offense

524.6.2006 9:01

Hmm, while I kind of agree with that statement, there's no denying their work with Airbus. They may be crap at making cars, but thankfully their aviation exploits are better!

624.6.2006 16:37

Apple had always strongly opposed the original draft of the bill, branding it "state sponsored piracy"
It's not piracy!!! It's fair usage of the media that they (the French) bought and rightly should own EVERY angle of listening to their music! When will companies learn that when they sell their music, it's ours to use HOWEVER we feel!

725.6.2006 8:39

I hope the French do take some sort of action against iTunes and DRM... "State sponsered piracy"? iTunes: Holding the digital music shops by the neck

825.6.2006 15:54

DRM is BS. Its no different then saying a consumer can only play a CD in one CD player and none others. imagine if you bught a CD at the store and you listen to it on the way home in your car. then you get home and want to hear it on your home theater system, but then you realize you played it in the car on the way home. now you are SOL and have to be in the car to listen to it. it sounds rediculus when it is explianed this way, but thats how it works. Copyright protection is a joke in my opinion. I have played cracked games, listened to pirated music, copied DVDs and the only copy protection that doesnt have work arounds is online multiplayer games. even DRM enhanced music from iTMS is not fail safe. all you have to do is d/l the music, burn it to a CD then rip it back to your HD and BAM, the MP3 is on your HD to share with the world. I am sure that the money all the corps have spent on developing copy protections in the past 5-10 years its more than they lose on a annual basis due to piracy, why dont they give it up? We all know they cant win. and if they do win the copy protection race, what are they going to do when everyone refuses to buy there copy protected music and DVDs ect when it cant be cracked? THEY GO BELLY UP!

926.6.2006 8:52

It's not just more than they lose to piracy, it's hundreds of times more. Think how much money is spent on schemes like rootkit, DRM and Starforce. What a waste!!!

1028.6.2006 9:06

DarkJello Why pick on Apple for it's DRM? "Don't other online music services have a similiar DRM?" The only other DRM of note out there is Windows "brand" which can be licensed by anyone willing to pay the fees. Apple will not license theirs at all. Very bad Apple. P.S. I'm no fan of ANY DRM, but if it's gonna be there, it sould at least be done on a level playing field. P.P.S. I really hope Windows DRM & media formats do not become defacto standards. They already enjoy a virtual monopoly on OS. To add browser, media player, format, and DRM defacto monpolies would be a bad thing...

1128.6.2006 9:20

me too. M$ already own enough!

1228.6.2006 10:29

I hope the bill passes, and this monkey business about DRM comes to a close.

1328.6.2006 16:36

For anyone cheering this bill. The original version mandated interoperability. It would have been a boon to French music fans. "The [current version of the] bill gives Apple and its rivals a "get out of jail free card": While interoperability is still mandated, it doesn't have to be enforced if the online song shops have the permission of the rights holders--musicians and record labels, for example--to use DRM." (from the ZDnet story) The current version looks to be pretty crappy for French consumers over-all. Much worse than what they have now. As to the "shift of power" idea, you can bet the "on-line music shops" and the major labels will smooth over their differences in order to continue sticking it to the French public. Money uber alles

1429.6.2006 0:52

MAFIAA uber alles. Money is just what they trade in. You won't catch me using iTunes or any of that rubbish, Allofmp3 or nothing (as in, P2P/Bit Torrent). I'm sorry, but why pay people so much for so little? If I was posted the cover, a physical CD and case etc. then yes, online downloads might be worth as much as buying a CD (sometimes more than) but as it is, I'd far rather spend a proper amount of money than waste it funding digital rights management.

1529.6.2006 20:12

Competition = good for consumers. :-)

1630.6.2006 8:26

France probably toned down, due to pressure by lobbyists on the DRM-busting law.

1730.6.2006 15:27

DRM is lame. Its funny how companies moan and groan on how many "billions" they lose due to piracy. Yet somehow they always forget to mention how many billions they make annualy. Somehow i dont think Apple will starve.

184.7.2006 9:57

That's the thing, the companies don't really lose money, they just lose additional profit, its not the same thing, because losing money implies your company will eventually go bankrupt, and the other implies your growth margins of profit will probably remain stable and slowly increase rather than skyrocketing as expected in the ends of pleasing the investors.

195.8.2006 18:26

Nah many studies has show that the profit of corporation like Sony and other major label was not down but up since the introduction of the CD but I would like to see how the market was after the introduction of Root Kit from Sony.... because I was so upset that a Major Corporation did highjack my computer it was like hey dummy open my nude picture... same effect but this time just to put it in the computer was enough to wreck my system. After that I wrote to Sony and told them hey I was buying CD because I could make my MP3 for my MP3 Player and so on now that you have done this to my OS I will never buy again from your corporation and I will now maybe look at already done MP3 from well.... to get my future music in any case you just lost a customer that bought for 200 dollars of music a year bye bye succer. Sincery a very mad and former loyal customer.

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