French lawmakers approved an online copyright bill today that would require Apple to break open the exclusive format behind its market-leading iTunes music store and iPod players. The draft law, which also introduces new penalties for music pirates, would force Apple, Sony and others to share proprietary copy-protection technologies so that rivals can offer compatible services and players. (But what's so wrong with this type of competitive market?)
Lawmakers in the National Assembly (France's lower house) overwhelmingly approved the bill 296-193. The legislation now has to be debated and voted by the Senate - a process expected to begin in May. Not surprisingly, Apple has so far refused to comment on the bill or on analysts' suggestions that it might choose to withdraw from the French online music market rather than share the proprietary technology at the heart of its business model.
According to the article, French Apple reps did not return any calls today and I'm not surprised...Under the bill, companies would be required to reveal the secrets of proprietary copy-protection technologies such as Apple's FairPlay and Sony's ATRAC3... (So much for
letting the market adjust itself...)