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French Senate vote could offer loophole for iTunes

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2006
News Categories: iTunes

A new amendment from the French Senate could allow Apple to sidestep the country’s plan to open its FairPlay DRM technology if Apple was to negotiate deals with record labels and artists to obtain copy-protection authorization. “The amendment, proposed by the Senate Cultural Affairs Committee, softens the terms of a government-backed copyright bill Apple criticized as ‘state-sponsored piracy’ after its first reading in March by lawmakers in France’s lower house,” reports the AP. “But the Senate committee’s changes could allow Apple to maintain the exclusive link between iTunes and the iPod, lawyers and officials said.”

AP continues: “Under the key amendment, compatibility disputes would be taken to a new regulatory authority that would have the power to order exclusive file formats be shared—but only if the obstacles they pose are ‘additional to, or independent of, those explicitly decided by the copyright holders.’ In other words, Apple and Sony could continue to refuse to share their FairPlay and ATRAC3 file formats, provided they obtain the authorization of artists and other copyright holders whose music they sell online… The Senate is expected to complete its reading of the copyright bill in coming days, after which the legislation passes to a joint committee of Senators and lower-house deputies, charged with hammering out a compromise text.”

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