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French lawmakers approve bill to open iPod, iTunes

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2006
News Categories: iPod

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

61

You’all are missing the main point. France’s law would allow anyone who thinks that they have a reason to want the code to have the code. That means that any old pirate could avoid the DRMs and redistribute the music or movies as in Piracy.

Music stores which have agreements to distribute licensed music would lose that if any old pirate could copy the music without paying for it.

Posted by point not missed on March 22, 2006 at 12:54 PM (PDT)

62

I can only see this as a good thing. Even if Apple does pull out of France, I can see other countries creating similar laws, and they can’t pull iTunes from all of them can they?

Posted by Denvir on March 22, 2006 at 1:02 PM (PDT)

63

Other countries are contemplating similar laws, including Spain, Sweden, Norway and Brazil. In fact Brazil may mandate open source cultural content, damn the Berne Convention which may developing nations see as an impediment to their cultural industries (shoving Disney down people’s throats).

Face it. The cat is out of the bag for good with peer-to-peer. The sole reason why iTiunes exists is to drive iPod hardware sales. There is no DRM scheme for music even being contemplated that will eliminate converting to a perfectly shared format, like iTunes can already do with AAC to MP3. iTunes and its DRM were always a kludge in the face of ubiquitous file sharing. All DRM can be cracked.

Posted by Aristophanes on March 22, 2006 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

64

Sorry, Victor but you are wrong. You don’t have to buy songs from itunes and you don’t have to buy an ipod. if you don’t want to be locked in don’t buy either one. i put my own mp3s from my cd collection on my ipod all the time. there is no force or coercion involved. any tune you can get on itunes you can find somewhere else i.e. other music stores, cds, tapes, lps, etc.
Good-bye itunes in france!!!!

Posted by tabcounter on March 22, 2006 at 2:30 PM (PDT)

65

Well, I agre with jason! (and many others) but apple should be able to do what they want where they want! right? junap, the thing is just like it is with wal mart.people buy thier brand pants and then put on an old navy shirt. its not as good as if it was a old navy pants and shirt. get it? iTunes goes with iPod. but if france wants to make that big of a deal out of it, then go ahaed, let them stop using itunes themselves!

Posted by LawnBoy on March 22, 2006 at 2:30 PM (PDT)

66

I think there are only a few posters here who took the time to think beyond the “Geee! Who does this silly GOVERNMENT think it is? Interfering with the usual shark-like practices of the market god? Ah! If Apple leaves France, good riddance!”.

Well… Here are my two cents on the subject:
- This law project is a shame, but not because of the very article discussed here. This article is, in fact, the only one who makes some sense among those publicly discussed.
- Hiding behind the term of “copyright” to enforce the distributors’ agenda is a sad joke. Because only content resellers will benefit from those articles that will prevent French people (like me) from working around DRM. Neither artists nor consumers will. See below.
- Without interoperability, and with mandatory DRM, as the DADVSI project is promoting, artists will be *forced* to accept the conditions from major reseller (Apple, M$, etc) to enter the portable player market. As of today, those conditions border on slavery and brain washing. They are why it is so hard to find music today. I do not say *good* or *real* music. I just say *music*. 99,99% of today’s production is only worth a little more than white noise. I used to listen to radio whenever I could. Now I find radios that broadcast today’s music plain boring after a couple minutes. Let any *artist* access the portable player market thanks to interoperability and standards, without having to follow the so-called “industry standards” and maybe we will hear art again. Someday. Am I the only one here realizing that “industry” and “art” are conflicting words and that industry rules should probably not be enforced when dealing with art?
- Once an artist has sold his/her soul to Apple (this is one example, but the favourite one here, obviously), it can only be listened to using an iPod. In other words, Apple locks him/her out of the rest of the portable player market. Obviously, this is not in the interest of the artist, hence the discussed DADVSI article. Obviously again, the said artist will want the iPod to have a maximal share of the market. Consequence: artists will use their reputation and popularity to advertise the iPod, and Apple’s point of vue about DRM and copyright in general. Free advertising, biased public debate. Yay for Apple! In other words, don’t believe artists saying that they believe DRM is good: they may either be sold to Apple or Sony, or wanting to be (so that they can pay the bills).
- For all those here who think that law should not hurt the business model, I say that -1- the free market system, even though it must be respected as a sustainable economical model, has no morality, no humanity, no values and should definitely not be trusted to make its own rules. Not to mention *laws*, for crissake! But who am I to try to convince people (American, French, English, German, etc) whose wealth is built mostly upon bringing war, economical slavery and death to other countries? (Irak, law making weapon industries and petrol market, etc) And -2- The open-source economical model is legit, valid and respectable, and trying to hurt it through the DADVSI is a shame and contradictory with the “politics should not deal with economics” argument. If the older economical models feel threaten, well… Tough. Adapt or die. But politics *must* make sure that they play fair. It’s their job. Saying the opposite is being suicidal.

I could on like this all night long and I’m getting tired of repeating the same things all over again. So I’ll end it briefly:

The DRM are not, and never were, about protecting or even managing any kind of “rights”, as digital as they may be. They never were about bringing any benefit of any kind to the consumer (what *use* are they to use, anyway?). They are about locking market shares. Keeping the competitors at bay. Preventing the user from switching, thus destroying their freedom. And soon, making the consumer pay the same thing over and over again, when he/she used to pay once and it seemed fair to everyone. Soon you will see MP3 players working only if you have a roaming Internet access, so that you can be billed 0.99$ each and every time you listen to a song.

I don’t know about you, but this is not the kind of future I want.

There are good uses of DRM. But only the people and the government have the rights to decide what uses are fair and good. Definitely not those sharks at Apple, M$ or Sony. People who trust those are… Please, this is just insane!

Anyway… There is one fact, one undisputable fact that the DRM side has yet to address successfully, and anything beyond that is futile:

People who download music on P2P networks also buy more music than those who don’t. Calling their best clients “thieves” and “pirates” is proof that they’re only doing so to distract everyone’s attention and keeping their agenda secret.

Posted by Detunized Gravity on March 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM (PDT)

67

For all those wailing away about government interference in the supposed “free market” how about we do away with any law regarding copyright? Intellectual property only exists because of government legislation (and not even in every country in the world).

DRM is a failure. I’ve always respected Apple for sticking to the ¢99 price aspect of their iTunes service and downplaying the DRM, even going so far as to allowing re-rip from AAC to MP3. This is quite the opposite of Sony’s approach. Apple never wanted any DRM in the first place. Apparently they saw no point in it since MP3 had become a ubiquitous standard with unstoppable file sharing aspects. iTunes was about adding novelty (pushing the new), value (organized and inexpensive), convenient (easy to use easy to access), and integrated (iTunes + iPod = fun with music). Apple’s approach of using low price and value-added was behind its most successful push into mainsteam consumer culture. iTunes, and the iPod do not rely on DRM. The latter is only a sop to the RIAA and the labels. It’s done nothing to promote online music sales and is, in fact, the mosty griped about, negative aspect of online purchases.

If Jobs and Apple are smart they’ll go back to their original gameplan they’ll succeed. Cave in to the RIAA demands for uber-protection and they’ll lose the French market, much of the EU and Latin America and P2P will surge even higher (it’s never slowed down).

Posted by Aristophanes on March 22, 2006 at 4:39 PM (PDT)

68

Do you expect anything less from the French !!

Posted by Ray Robinson on March 23, 2006 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

69

Bottom Line: FRANCE SUCKS! PERIOD!

Posted by Mike Engwen on March 24, 2006 at 1:42 PM (PDT)

70

Just to be one of those really annoying kids, this is actually probably going to be a really good thing for me.
Meaning, I have an iTMS Switzerland account, for use with my UBS account (I live 15 mins away from the border, and go to school in Switzerland). So I get free songs with that, using Keyclub points. So all this hoohah doesn’t bother me.
And if the French law continues, and implements its download tax system, where I pay extra for internet and am allowed to download, then I’ll get plenty of free music!
What a wonderful world…

Peter B.

P.S. For that matter I don’t think Apple would leave if hacking fairplay was legalised, only if they were forced to sell songs without protection. The cracking programs already exist, all the French law would change is they’d stop prosecuting people who use them. But though the programs are available, I don’t think most people would suddenly start using them just because they can. Besides, it fills up your disk having 2 copies of all your iTMS songs.

Posted by Pete on May 2, 2006 at 8:54 AM (PDT)

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