French lawmakers approve bill to open iPod, iTunes | iLounge News

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French lawmakers approve bill to open iPod, iTunes

French lawmakers have voted to approve the online music interoperability bill that would force Apple to open its copy-protection technology and break the exclusive tie between downloads from the iTunes Music Store and the iPod. As reported earlier today, “the draft law—which also introduces new penalties for music pirates—would force Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to share proprietary anti-copy technologies so that rivals can offer compatible services and players.” The French Senate will give a final vote on the bill in coming weeks.

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Comments

21

Will it really matter to Apple if someone can buy a song from iTunes and play it on an iRiver?

Would it be worse if people could download from Napster and play on an iPod?

which is the more valuable to Apple - iPod or iTunes?

Posted by junap on March 21, 2006 at 12:43 PM (PDT)

22

The reason that it matters to Apple whether someone buys a song and plays it on an iPod or an iRiver is that the iTune store is basically a break even store.  After one factors in the cost that the record company/artist charges, the credit card charge (from the credit card company’s point of view, it is identical to buy a song ort buy a car, administrative costs etc., the only profit center is the player.  I’m curious how this will work out and if I can sue my vhs player maker to require the machines to play dvd’s too!

Posted by Kit on March 21, 2006 at 1:05 PM (PDT)

23

So how many of you got upset when the EU forced Microsoft to open Windows?

From what people are saying, it seems like Apple owns the content. Apple doesn’t own the music; the record labels do. If anything, the record labels will be the ones to pull out.

Posted by Galahad on March 21, 2006 at 1:12 PM (PDT)

24

:clap: :clap:
WTG France
DRM blows and should never have even been used. Lets hope fairuse makes a comeback and that more countries take notice.

Galahad you are right, MS bundles a media player which isn’t even close to being the most popular and it’s a huge deal. Apple basically forces you to buy an ipod if you want to listen to iTMS songs… it should be a big deal too.

Posted by Victor on March 21, 2006 at 1:31 PM (PDT)

25

Personally, I love this idea. I’d love to have the ability to use my iPod with subscription music services like Napster and Yahoo Music Engine, and I’m sure that non-iPod owners would love to be able to download songs from iTunes to their iRiver and Samsung music players.

This is Win-Win for consumers, but a potential loss of a monopoly for Apple and Microsoft. But, hey, screw Apple and Microsoft… They aren’t playing fair with their customers. Industry monopolies are NEVER good for consumers, even when you have a company like Apple running them.

What else can I say… Viva La France! smile

Posted by leonbev on March 21, 2006 at 1:40 PM (PDT)

26

they will just stop shipping to france stores, if they want it they just buy it online, and there problem is solved, they wont lose much business at all.

Posted by xeroskill on March 21, 2006 at 1:41 PM (PDT)

27

Well people, you haven’t followed the whole story! This is a part of law which translates the European EUCD (equivalent of the DMCA) into French legisaltion.

This law basicaly says:
- companies can protect their content with DRM where they want to
- cracking a DRM is illegal (no more decss on linux), even if it is in a “fair use” context ex: copy of copy-protected cd to listen it in your car)
- file exchange software *must* implement the DRM for protected material (no more eDonkey without DRM)
- DRM must be interoperable, optionnaly with a licence fee (no, it doesn’t help open source software)

Posted by Regis on March 21, 2006 at 1:54 PM (PDT)

28

Some of you are clearly confused. Let me explain how Apple Company operates so that your less confused and can judge the ruling in France with some perspective.

Apple has never been about iTunes. iTunes has always been a means to an end. Apple is a hardware company. Most of their software is there to help sell their hardware at a premium. That’s why iTunes is free. That’s also why no other music player (hardware) is able to beat iPods. Most of the other companies only focus on one aspect of the business: either hardware or software. Apple is the ONLY company that has figured out that to be successful in the mp3 space you need to have control of BOTH the hardware AND the software. Only then can you create a seamless experience for the consumers, who for the most part, are just sheep.

Yes it’s most likely that Apple will just pull out of the Frog market. However, they could end up just releasing a special iTunes version where ACC is stripped from the encoding. They can just use MP3’s like all the other players. This will allow them to stay in Frogland and satisfy the Frogs who don’t want the “tying” of hardware with software.

Posted by jcc on March 21, 2006 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

29

Many have pointed out that Apple may drop iTunes in France to avoid the law. But that may not be enough to avoid the law since they would still be selling iPods and computers. They may have to halt all sales to France or even the EU to avoid the law which would be much more expensive.

Posted by Jeffrey Kraus-yao on March 21, 2006 at 2:35 PM (PDT)

30

You know it’s a good thing that iTunes MP3s can only be played on their device. Whew, it was horrible when we bought Tapes long ago and were forced to play them on all sorts of tape devices and woah remember the Record LP?? Gosh, talk about a gazillion devices we had to play those things on. It’s so great that I only have one option to play my music file that I purchased. I hate all those decisions.

Long live DRM so we don’t have all those stupid choices!!!!

Posted by msclvr on March 21, 2006 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

31

apple AND microsoft are going to be required to open their drm, steph.

and does anyone here really think that 3rd party companies will be as careful as apple and microsoft when it comes to implementing their respective drm schemes? hell no, they will go the cheapest route possible to undercut itunes’ and the other knockoff sites’ prices. consumers will be stuck cleaning up the mess half-### drm causes on their ipods and other mp3 players. this is not good for the consumer, but it is typical ### backward governing. the french law makers are idiots wasting their time chasing technology, when they have real issues to address. viva frogs! enjoy the silence!

Posted by clackerd on March 21, 2006 at 2:58 PM (PDT)

32

People get so colored by their loyalties.  I love my iPod and I think iTunes is great.  I also believe that Microsoft has deserved the success it has enjoyed becaust it innovated, created a compelling product and has profitted from investment in R&D.  While I prefer to use a Mac, I’m not interested in Pages as I think Word, for all its bloat, is actually a fine piece of software that works extremely well.

Now, none of us (making a strong assumption here!) are anti-trust attorneys, but in the case of Windows Media and IE, my recollection is that Microsoft was required to unbundle it from the core of the operating system to essentially allow you to delete it if you so chose.  So I’m not sure this is an analogous situation to the iPod/iTunes integration, since iTunes is fully deletable from either your Mac or Windows machine. No one is truly tied into ever having iTunes on any platform.

On to DRM.  I personally am a believer in DRM.  I believe that I’m now able to have cool, commute-enhancing products like iPods and its competitive products.  DRM allowed a legitimate business to exist in the digital world, where previously—frankly—piracy was the sole business model.  I will never agree with anyone who claims that they have the right to share their music broadly with the world by transfering ownership via P2P portals.  I certainly don’t think it’s the most heinous crime in the world, but it is simply stealing royalties and certainly exceeds anyone’s legitimate “fair usage” rights.  Whether you think the whole record industry’s royalty system is corrupt is a separate question from whether DRM is a necessary construct. 

So at the end of the day, the iPod is just a hardware platform for which the compatible software is either in mp3 or AAC (protected or not) format.  But unlike those of us Mac users who bemoan a lack of software on the MacOS platform, the nice thing for anyone who opts out of the iPod world is they can find the same exact music via a ton of different services or on good old CDs, vinyl, etc.  And lets face it… The iPod is so successful in large part because of the tight integration between the iPod and the computer software.  I don’t think the “Plays For Sure” DRM scheme that tries to be quasi-open has been nearly as succesful at making the digital music experience easy for the masses.  I respect those who prefer to use mp3s, subscription services, etc.  Hopefully they (and France) will respect my desire to use the tightly integrated, easy to use, robust iPod/iTunes platform.

Posted by Devil's Advocate on March 21, 2006 at 3:55 PM (PDT)

33

So this means French iPod owners will be able to listen to protected WMA and whatever Sony’s latest proprietary format? Sounds cool. Convincing Sony and Microsoft to cave will be harder than Apple

Posted by WMAPod on March 21, 2006 at 3:57 PM (PDT)

34

@Muzikal TekSone

Why would ipod users stray from iTMS if the format became open? Ipods can still play mp3’s right? So they currently have the option of going to a subscription service. Nothing would change in that arena, it would just attract more users. The government’s move to interfere with the company is another story. I actually support it, but I also understand that it’s arguably unfair.

Posted by Phil on March 21, 2006 at 4:01 PM (PDT)

35

Goodbye iTunes in France? More like goodbye iTunes AND iPod in France.

Legislating interoperability works both ways. DRM’d AAC on Zens and the rest, DRM’d WMA on iPods.

Posted by flatline response on March 21, 2006 at 4:43 PM (PDT)

36

C’est <<Vive la France>>

Viva = not french


.. c’est la vie =)

Posted by Smarter on March 21, 2006 at 4:59 PM (PDT)

37

OK, realistically, how many people are gonna buy an iPod if you can use a mp3 player that costs half as much with iTunes?  So why would Apple want to cut the throat of it’s breadwinner just to sell a few songs to France, and have to split the money from that with the record lables on top of it?  Yeah, they’ll lose sales of iPods in France, but if they bow down now, it’ll be like dominos and everyone will want the drm cracked.  And what about support for other players in iTunes?  They’d almost have to provide it to get the benefit of selling music to put on other players.  It’d turn iTunes into the same crap that everyone else is selling.  Anyone remember iPods and MusicMatch?

Posted by dave on March 21, 2006 at 5:17 PM (PDT)

38

Surely its up to the big businesses how they operate.

iTunes is specifically designed to work with iPod, but you dont need an iPod to use other features in iTunes.

Apple, Sony, and whoever own the itellectual rights to their code, so why should they have to give away their market advantage in a law suit.

They’ll end up probs just pulling the plug on france, the its citizens will just have to get these things from abroad!

Posted by Luke on March 21, 2006 at 5:44 PM (PDT)

39

“People get so colored by their loyalties.  I love my iPod and I think iTunes is great.  I also believe that Microsoft has deserved the success it has enjoyed becaust it innovated, created a compelling product and has profitted from investment in R&D.  While I prefer to use a Mac, I’m not interested in Pages as I think Word, for all its bloat, is actually a fine piece of software that works extremely well.”

Innovate? More like consolidate. MS Word was heavily based on Xerox Bravo. DOS? MS bought the software. PowerPoint and Hotmail? MS bought the companies. Windows? It’s not a coincidence that it resembles a certain OS. But I digress…

“Now, none of us (making a strong assumption here!) are anti-trust attorneys, but in the case of Windows Media and IE, my recollection is that Microsoft was required to unbundle it from the core of the operating system to essentially allow you to delete it if you so chose.  So I’m not sure this is an analogous situation to the iPod/iTunes integration, since iTunes is fully deletable from either your Mac or Windows machine. No one is truly tied into ever having iTunes on any platform.”

From the AP article “Microsoft to Open Windows to Please EU” from 25 Jan 2006:

“Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it will license its Windows source code to comply with a European Union antitrust ruling.

“In March 2004, the EU executive levied a record euro497 million ($613 million) fine against Microsoft, ordered it to share code with rivals and offer an unbundled version of Windows without the Media Player software for what the court saw as an abuse of the company’s dominant position in the industry.”

Of course, MS is still challenging this.

This ties into iPod/iTunes because Apple will be forced to license Fairplay. Originally, France was considering making DRM cracking legal (That’s how some people were interpreting it, anyway.) but that didn’t pass.

“So at the end of the day, the iPod is just a hardware platform for which the compatible software is either in mp3 or AAC (protected or not) format.  But unlike those of us Mac users who bemoan a lack of software on the MacOS platform, the nice thing for anyone who opts out of the iPod world is they can find the same exact music via a ton of different services or on good old CDs, vinyl, etc.  And lets face it… The iPod is so successful in large part because of the tight integration between the iPod and the computer software.  I don’t think the “Plays For Sure? DRM scheme that tries to be quasi-open has been nearly as succesful at making the digital music experience easy for the masses.  I respect those who prefer to use mp3s, subscription services, etc.  Hopefully they (and France) will respect my desire to use the tightly integrated, easy to use, robust iPod/iTunes platform.”

I think Apple engineers are smart enough to keep iPod/iTunes working with other DRM.

But this is not just about hardware/software; it’s about CONTENT.

If I buy music, I want to be able to consume it without being forced to work with just one company. Say Apple does pull out of France (taking the iPod with them). Now, all of the French who bought songs from iTunes are stuck. If their iPod stops working, for whatever reason, they just can’t transfer their music to another company’s player, like how one can with CD, tape and vinyl. Is that fair for the consumer?

Posted by Galahad on March 21, 2006 at 8:16 PM (PDT)

40

god damn france. their always f-ing everything up. they cant do anything right. such a worthless country. they dont deserve apple.

Posted by freedom fries on March 21, 2006 at 10:32 PM (PDT)

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