Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

France To Force iTunes to Open to Other Players? 325

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the capitalism-doesn't-always-play-nice dept.
JordanL writes "It appears that France is pushing through a law that some feel may force Apple to open iTunes to other players. From the article: 'Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format. It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management -- the codes that protect music, films and other content -- if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

France To Force iTunes to Open to Other Players?

Comments Filter:
  • by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3@[ ]oggy.com ['phr' in gap]> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:44AM (#14914077) Homepage
    Music downloaded from Apple's iTunes online music store currently can only be played on iPods. ...and Macs and Windows PCs using any application that uses QuickTime, including iTunes and (I believe) recent versions of RealPlayer.

    The law, if enacted, could prompt Apple to shut its iTunes store in France, some industry observers say, to keep from making songs vulnerable to conversion outside France, too.

    If Apple had to shut down iTMS in France, its competition would have to shut down for the same reason.

    "The person who will have converted iTunes songs will be able to make it available elsewhere," Marc Guez, head of the French Collecting Society for Music Producers rights (SCPP) told Reuters.

    Not legally. The music is still protected by copyright law. Currently, the DRM can be removed illegally, and then the music can be illegally shared. Making the first step legal doesn't make the second step legal.

    The law would also mean that other online French music retailers such as Fnac, part of PPR, would have to make iTunes songs available on their Web sites.

    Can anyone translate this from journalist-speak to tech-speak for me? What exactly would Fnac have to make available?

    Police agents can monitor music exchange Web sites and trace back the email address of beneficiaries by asking the Internet service provider for it through a court order.

    Presumably they meant they can ask the ISP for the billing information of the customer who was using a particular IP address (not e-mail address), which the police agents obtained through monitoring P2P services (not Web sites).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:56AM (#14914104)
      I would have made some kind of retort here, but I was blindsided by your three digit number.

      So, ah, don't you have 8-tracks to convert?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:58AM (#14914109)
      "The law would also mean that other online French music retailers such as Fnac, part of PPR, would have to make iTunes songs available on their Web sites."

      Fnac is a quite powerfull culture oriented retail group that has setup their own music file format. The point is that FNAC is one of the biggest music product seller in France. It has been proven by testers that Fnac salespersons were "not pushing at all" the Apple products and trying to push the products that were compatible with the online Fnac music store !

      The law is just adding more anti-trust principles on digital music, so that corporate trust can not force people to by their own product and can not force the the people to by only at their shop.

      • by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3@[ ]oggy.com ['phr' in gap]> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:06AM (#14914131) Homepage
        Fnac is a quite powerfull culture oriented retail group that has setup their own music file format. The point is that FNAC is one of the biggest music product seller in France. It has been proven by testers that Fnac salespersons were "not pushing at all" the Apple products and trying to push the products that were compatible with the online Fnac music store !

        The law is just adding more anti-trust principles on digital music, so that corporate trust can not force people to by their own product and can not force the the people to by only at their shop.


        Thanks for the background info. The intent here sounds good, but I'm still confused as to what Fnac would be forced to do. Offer non-DRM AAC or MP3 versions of songs customers purchase from Fnac, which the copyright holders won't let them do? Offer FairPlay-encrypted DRM versions, which Apple won't let them do? Link to the iTMS?
        • by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:24AM (#14914330) Homepage Journal
          From my (admittedly weak) understanding of the law, it means that Fnac would have to offer their songs in a format that iPods can play as well, since iPods don't support the WMA format. Since Apple won't let them have FairPlay, that means a nonencrypted MP3 or AAC format.

          There seems to be some confusion in the article between iTunes and the iPod. The law would not affect just Apple, but all online music retailers and digital music players. But since Apple is the leader in both, it gets singled out.

          My guess is that Apple may be forced by the recording industry to close iTMS France (after all, Steve Jobs has gone on record as saying that DRM isn't the answer), but eventually returning after a backlash from French artists and music purchasers.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Steve Jobs has gone on record as saying that DRM isn't the answer).

            Where? Jobs is 100% in favour of DRM... as can be seen by the design (DRM in hardware) of the new Intel Macs designed to provide a means for music and video to be completely tied to one machine. You might also like to consider that DRM refers to "digital information"... which is a lot more than just music and video. Among other things (such as emails, spreadsheet, word processing documents)... it also controls computer code -- something th

      • by lovebyte (81275) * <lovebyte2000 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:03AM (#14914279) Homepage
        Fnac is a quite powerfull culture oriented retail group that has setup their own music file format.

        They don't use their own format, they use Windows Media Audio with MS DRM. Like everyone except Apple.
    • "The person who will have converted iTunes songs will be able to make it available elsewhere," Marc Guez, head of the French Collecting Society for Music Producers rights (SCPP) told Reuters.

      [comment] Not legally. The music is still protected by copyright law. Currently, the DRM can be removed illegally, and then the music can be illegally shared. Making the first step legal doesn't make the second step legal.[/comment]

      You're misunderstanding Mr. Guez. He is against the law (note his affiliation), and he

      • by Phroggy (441) *
        You're misunderstanding Mr. Guez. He is against the law (note his affiliation), and he is arguing that if this law is passed, ordinary people will have the ability to illegally send the non-DRM'd content around the world, and thus Apple would close its French iTunes store. To him, this is a reason why the law should not be passed. In the original story, the previous paragraph explained this.

        Alright, yes, if this law passes, it will become easier to remove DRM encryption, because the tools to do so will beco
        • First, Apple would close iTMS in France because its contracts require it to distribute music with FairPlay. Second, saying it's illegal to redistribute is one thing. Enforcement is something else entirely.

          Personally, given its past pattern of behavior, I suspect that the French government is doing this not "for the consumer", but to drive Apple and iTMS and its foreign cultural influences out of France, opening the doorway for its own music and hardware industries.

          • but to drive Apple and iTMS and its foreign cultural influences out of France
            Total BS. itunes sells exactly the same music in France as all the other online providers (in France). There is no "foreign cultural influence" there. Secondly, Vivendi is French and is the largest music publisher in the world. Thirdly it would be the first time the French government is interested in the consumers and not doing wathever the music lobbies want it to do.
            • by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:14AM (#14914462) Homepage
              Actually, you're not even close to what it is. This is an amendment (dunno if it's an english word) to a law they are trying to pass, very close to the DMCA. This is there to shut up the people so they look quite positive overall with the entire thing. They they'll remove it just before getting it voted and it'll pass without the crap you're talking about.

              Don't be mistaken, the music industry has a big influence in France as well, and they'll not give up on that one. Proof is the damn thing was supposed to be voted in December but the parliament is opposing much more resistance than the majors suspected.
              --
              XviD review [palmdrive.net]
            • I was actually surprised by the headline once I read the article. It's like WTF?! This is way bigger than iTunes, this is like the anti-DMCA coming!

              Come one people - we've been bitching and moaning about the DMCA for year, and now that a government is passing a law that seems to be the opposite (FAIR USE) - it get's disguised as some sort of iTunes issue?

              This is great news for consumers - up to now in the digital era, most popular services tried to lock people in with proprietary formats into a product th
          • Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.

            Apple can still sell songs with Fairplay encryption present.

            It's just that the end user would now have a legal right to break the DRM and convert the file into what ever format he needs which of course renders the DRM pointless but Apple would not be breaking their contract if this law was enacted.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:24AM (#14914179)
      No no, you're totaly wrong with this. I'm french so i know what i'm talking about. The law which is about to be voted is the inverse. I will be now ILLEGAL to crack drm, and even conturn the protection of the dvd to read it on a linux for example could be consider as illegal too.
      This law is as strict as the american one.

      The truth is that the french government want the online music store to open themselves to all the mp3 player but with the drm not without. They want them to use the same type of drm( I really don't think apple and microsoft care about France ...), but use drm become an obligation. I repeat conturn them will now be stricly forbidden.

      If you understand french, go there http://eucd.info/ [eucd.info]. You will understand France is no longer freedom's country ...
    • Police agents can monitor music exchange Web sites and trace back the email address of beneficiaries by asking the Internet service provider for it through a court order.

      Presumably they meant they can ask the ISP for the billing information of the customer who was using a particular IP address (not e-mail address), which the police agents obtained through monitoring P2P services (not Web sites).

      Given the recent data retention directive passed by the European Commision and parlairment and required to

    • At least if the P2P laws that's up in France goes through (flat rate per month to be allowed to use P2P legally for all material). So, suddenly all of France is one big loophole. This will be interesting, indeed.

      Eivind.

      • The WTO will not be happy with this.

        Frankly, neither will I. While I dislike DRM on my media, I respect the rights of the creator to put it there, and I understand the right to charge consumers for a product like a CD or even a download.

        I also don't like overpriced music and I refuse to buy it.
        • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:21AM (#14914990) Journal
          Speaking as both a creator (maybe half the money I've earned is from copyrights) and somebody that's looked closely at these issues: Charging consumers for a work isn't a right - it is a privilege, a trade between me and society, ultimately enforced by using guns to remove other people's ability to produce things.

          It's fairly clear that I have a moral right to keep my work secret. The moment I make it public and people start reading or viewing or using it, however, it becomes part of the heritage of the society, it influences and changes - and, if it is widely consumed, society end up with a much larger investment in it than I had.

          Presently, society grants me the privilege of restricting copying - using its guns or the threat of them to punish those that defy my wishes. This is, however, not something I can demand. It is something that society grants.

          Eivind.

    • An interesting side point is that you can already remove the DRM from purchased iTMS songs(burn them to CD). However if you at-your-option decide to re-encode these to other formats a minimal loss in quality occurs.

      So Apple could argue that they already allow their music's DRM to be removed, as converting it to other formats will always be a lossy experience regardless if the middle ground is a burnt-cd/disc image.

      Will the law stipulate that a prestine conversion be required? (Something which isn't technic

  • L'iPod (Score:5, Funny)

    by liangzai (837960) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:46AM (#14914080) Homepage
    L'iPod est mortes, vive l'iPod!
    • Re:L'iPod (Score:5, Informative)

      by this great guy (922511) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:02AM (#14914119)

      There is a grammatical error, the correct writing is: L'iPod est mort, vive l'iPod.

      See ? Being French is advantageous. Anytime someone tries to write something in french on /. you can be sure to find an error. So just do like me:
      1- Reply to fix the error.
      2- Wait for the nice "+5, Informative" mod.
      3- ???
      4- Karma increased !

      • Re:L'iPod (Score:5, Funny)

        by protomala (551662) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:30AM (#14914647) Homepage
        Now if only more people write in bad brazilian portuguese I could get some karma bonus also...

        Wait... I'm the one who writes in bad portuguese and bad english. Minus karma to me!
      • Re:L'iPod (Score:3, Funny)

        by utexaspunk (527541)
        See ? Being French is advantageous. Anytime someone tries to write something in french on /. you can be sure to find an error.

        Dude, that's nothing- anytime someone tries to write something in English on /. you can be sure to find an error.

        (For example, you didn't capitalize the second French!)
  • Seen it coming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:46AM (#14914084) Homepage
    It appears that France is pushing through a law that some feel may force Apple to open iTunes to other players.

    French = Freedom. I think that's already been established by the US Congress [cnn.com].
    • French = Freedom. I think that's already been established by the US Congress.

      That's the reason US eateries serve "freedom" fries instead of French fries now? I did wonder... That sounds a bit petty though. Let's hope France doesn't take back the statue of liberty in retaliation!

    • Are you sure it's freedom when the government forces you to change the policy of your own business in a manner such as this?

      If you were a songwriter, would you like to be told that you could not chage $10 for your CDs because "music is art and art does not have a price?" How about forced to charge at least $20 so the government could collect higher tariffs on it?

      It is important to respect the rights of the creators of media and software, even if they are intangible products. Unless you created the media, it
  • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:47AM (#14914086) Journal
    Look, iTunes is popular, as are ipods. First, one could easily enough say they are independantly popular. They do feed off each other a bit, but both were pioneers that succeeded in their own right.

    Secondly, while I could definately seen reasoning that you should be able to format-shift, I don't see why people have an automatic 'right' to conversion. I mean, it shouldn't be illegal to format-shift, but neither should Apple be required to put a sytem in place to do so. There are plenty of ways for me to move to a different format. Generally, some quality loss is involved, but no more than format-shifting between physical mediums had (such as tape to CD, CD to mp3, etc).
    • 1) this would not be Itune specific but for EVERYBODY. The headline is inflamatorry. 2) if I remmember corerctly we have under fair use in France a right to format shift for backup purpose. I Could be wrong. But if I am not, then the automatic right for conversion is in the law. And putting DRM obstacle in the way would be, in regard to blank cd tax and other law recently made, then be either illegal or quite turning around the law the late being also frowned upon.
    • by top_down (137496) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:19AM (#14914163)
      Why do we need a justification? France is a democracy which means that the people are the boss. It is clearly in their interest to be able to format-shift and it is also of interest for the economy as a whole to be able to format shift. So why not do it? There are only positives.

      And no, Apple isn't required to do anything. They can take it or leave it. It's their choice to sell stuff in France.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        France is a democracy which means that the people are the boss.

        Actually France is a republic (the "Fifth Republic", to be exact), though many would argue the goverment is actually socialist (less so now than fifteen years ago, but much more so than the U.S.)

        Yes, I'm nitpicking. But France and the U.S. are not democracies and the people do make the laws. (if it were to go to a public vote, sharing copyrighted mp3's as well as many other vices would most likely be legalized in any democracy.)

        BTW, France is
        • France is a democratic republic. There is no contradiction in a country being both a republic and a democracy. That's why we have the clarifying terms such as "representative democracy" (which France as well as the USA both are) and "direct democracy".

          And yes, I'm nitpicking... ;)

        • citizens don't have guaranteed rights that Americans supposedly have (like rights to a fair trial and freedom of speech.)

          Both of those things, and a whole host of others, are guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, to which France is a signatory (along with every other Eu member state).

          I can't wait for the "you guys don't even have a constitution!" meme to die out; we do (in the UK at least), and we have other protections on top, too.
        • by utexaspunk (527541) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:56AM (#14915628)
          A Republic is a form of Democracy- It's called a Democratic Republic. Only fucktards make a point of disputing that Republics aren't Democracies when the author's point (that the government represents the people) is clear, and the fact that it's Socialist has no relation to either. You can have Socialist Democratic Republics, Socialist Direct Democracies, or whatever else one wants.
    • by babbling (952366) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:31AM (#14914196)
      Yeah, well, currently Apple have been changing what you can do with the music you have ALREADY PURCHASED. They have been doing this via iTunes software updates. They changed the number of CDs you are "allowed" to burn for each song, and the number of computers you are "allowed" to have each song on.

      I think in most countries, that would/should be regarded a very direct violation of consumers' rights. In Australia, you are supposed to get the product you paid for, not something different. By changing how you can "use" each song, Apple have essentially switched the product that people have.

      Apple probably justify this by some stupid clause in their Terms & Conditions that states you don't really own the songs at all, or something. I'm sure they also have one of those "we reserve the right to change anything in the terms & conditions without notice" clauses, too.
      • Here's the EULA (formatting will probably be screwed up):

        The relevant section (under section 4, iTunes Music Store):

        Apple and its licensors reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any Services at any time without notice. In no event will Apple be
        liable for the removal of or disabling of access to any such Services. Apple may also impose limits on the use of or access to certain Services, in any case and
        without notice or liability.

        Then again, customers have no box to stand on to co
      • I think in most countries, that would/should be regarded a very direct violation of consumers' rights. In Australia, you are supposed to get the product you paid for, not something different. By changing how you can "use" each song, Apple have essentially switched the product that people have.

        How is this any different than shipping an Operating System and then changing the licensing? How is it any different than shipping a program, then shipping an update that adds/removes functionality?

        While it's goo
        • The difference is mainly that this is easily enforced. Anyone who buys a new iPod will need to upgrade iTunes (assuming their iTunes is older than the iPod) and will be forced into having all of the conditions on their music changed and enforced.

          I suppose it's not too different than other software that people have purchased having features taken out in an "upgrade", but I'm not aware of any software that does that, and if there is some, it's probably not as widely used as iTunes.

          When licences change b
    • by v1 (525388)
      The basic problem is this "IP" thing. When it all settles down, what it's alll about is creative people making things and then doing everything they can to maximize the money they get as a result. Nothing wrong with wanting to maximize proffits, but the problem here is they use a law that was ostensibly/originally designed to insure "just compensation" to the artist, and twist and squeeze it for every last penny they can. The problem is that laws are usually designed (originally) to protect someone weak
  • Microsoft as well? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TimCapulet (954269) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:48AM (#14914089) Homepage
    The article only mentions that Apple would have to allow people to convert their songs into other formats. Does that also apply to Microsoft and other companies? If it applies to all digital media, then this law will effectively end all digital rights management!
    • by babbling (952366)
      Actually, if I read correctly, the law would only make it legal for people to break the DRM and convert their files to a different format. I'm not sure that it would force companies to provide tools to convert the bastardised files into a different format. It's more of a correction to a very broken law, where people are currently not allowed to convert DRM files to a different format. (French DMCA equivalent)
    • by Technician (215283)
      then this law will effectively end all digital rights management!

      Oh boy I hope so. With tight DRM there is a lot of good music I would have never been introduced to. For example I was impressed with the christmas light show that made the rounds on the net last year. If the copyright owner was super anal about the distribution of the song, then I neve would have found about the Trans Siberian Orchestra. As it turns out, the guy with the light show was invited to one of the concerts while they were on tou
  • by eclectro (227083) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:50AM (#14914094)
    I vote to change our "freedom fries" to "french fries"!

    I also think that whole "fance surrenders" thing was silly too.

  • by ajdlinux (913987) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:56AM (#14914105) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that the French government is protecting consumer rights from music companies who just want to force their ways of protecting 'Intellectual Property'. Slashdot last year had a story about the Australian government introducing copyright amendment laws to make private copying of videos and TV shows (only for private purposes of course) legal.
    • Australian government introducing copyright amendment laws to make private copying of videos and TV shows (only for private purposes of course) legal.

      Perhaps tomorrow a federal Government staffer will print out this article for John Howard to read while he has his morning tea.

    • I'm not so sure that one happened here in Australia. Noises were made, speeches made references to this, but I don't think a law has actually come up.
      • There was a little report a bit more recently, again describing the changes, but they were mostly superficial changes. Basically, they were adding things that bring us up to US copyright status. Before that, we were worse than the US when it came to copyright. (no fair use)
  • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo.mac@com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:01AM (#14914115) Homepage Journal

    I wish I had access to the draft of the bill in question (along with a good English translation) -- the article suggests several things which may or may not be true.

    One of these suggestions is that Apple may have to stop running iTMS France in order to avoid compliance. However, it also states that other online stores would have to provide songs in a form that allows them to be played on the iPod.

    Now I'm assuming that the primary music labels from outside of France would prefer to simply no longer license their works for digital download in France than allow providers to distribute music in an unencumbered format (such as MP3). Which would mean that the only way French law could permit other online music stores to provide music in iPod format would be for them to be allowed to use Fairplay.

    This would mean that either Apple would be forced to license Fairplay to any online music store in France, or these companies will be permitted to reverse-engineer it. They would likewise need to be able to access a users Fairplay key.

    In which case, the only way Apple may be able to avoid this whole mess would be to pull not only iTMS out of France, but the iPod as well. And I don't see Apple doing this.

    The only way I see around this would be for all of the online music stores in France -- Apple's iTMS included -- to come up with a common, France-specific music DRM format. And while the added flexability would be of benefit to French digital music consumers, I'm not sure if having nation-specific DRM formats is going to be all that great of an idea.

    Yaz.

    • I dont see anything there that suggests that fairplay needs to be opened. Remenber that an ipod can play mp3's and non drm aac. So to offer 'ipod compatable' music you dont need access to fairplay. personally I think this is 'a good thing' the law is there to protect our rights not to protect someones business model.
      • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo.mac@com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:32AM (#14914199) Homepage Journal
        I dont see anything there that suggests that fairplay needs to be opened. Remenber that an ipod can play mp3's and non drm aac. So to offer 'ipod compatable' music you dont need access to fairplay.

        I think you need to read what I posted again, because I did indeed deal with this.

        What incentive would, say, Sony BMG have to license music to any French digital music retailer, if that retailer wnated to sell their music in a non-DRM'ed format? Sony BMG (just as an example) could simply decide to get out of online digital music sales in France altogether, rather than have their music sold in MP3 or unprotected AAC format. And with no music to sell, the online stores will simply dry up and go away in France.

        The only way the French government can get this to work is to allow the other vendors to reverse engineer Fairplay, and/or require Apple to license Fairplay to these other companies. The aim of this law doesn't appear to be to force online music stores out of business, and in order to work with Fairplay other online stores will need access to a users iTMS key. Because as I see it, every music company would rather stop selling all online digital music than permit legal, unprotected music downloads in France.

        This is why, as I said, having access to the proposed text of this law would help clarify such issues.

        Yaz.

        • What incentive would, say, Sony BMG have to license music to any French digital music retailer, if that retailer wnated to sell their music in a non-DRM'ed format?

          The same incentive as always, to make money. Removing DRM doesn't change that.

          It might reduce the value to Sony BMG of the music involved but since the marginal cost to Sony BMG of each piece of music sold is close to zero all that value change is doing is making it a more rational free market. For the consumer this law might reduce the cost

          • The same incentive as always, to make money. Removing DRM doesn't change that.

            You're missing Yaz's point. Apple have had to establish country specific agreements with all the record labels that supply iTunes with songs. Those agreements were only allowed on condition that Apple packaged the music with DRM technology that the record labels were happy with. If the French government forced Apple or any other music reseller to remove their DRM, the labels (Sony BMG for example) would declare breach of cont

    • Nobody will pull iTMS out. Indeed, the only thing this (very long and complex) law may do, is to legally allow one person to change a document format, which for instance in the case of music would mean that when I convert an Apple's DRMed file to mp3 for personal use on my third-party mp3 reader, I would'nt do something illegal any more.

      And I say *may* do.
      Because in the end, the law may even be amended to allow this only to institutions (libraries...) --originally in this very same law, converters themselve
      • You sound like someone who has either read this draft law, or whom has at least read some better analysis of it then has been provided by the press in North America thus far.

        The one thing I do have to ask, however -- is software to remove DRM from media currently illegal in France? I wasn't aware that it was. So far as I was aware, the only country that has made defeating DRM illegal is the US. Here in Canada, at least, it would seem that removing DRM for the purpose of making a personal copy is complet

  • iTunes or Napster? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro@gmai l . com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:04AM (#14914123) Journal
    This will more seriously affect services like Napster that work on the subscription basis.
    Why keep up your subscription if you can download all the music you want and then keep it .
    • True: with all the brouhaha concentrating on the market leader (Apple), this will affect ALL music stores. They must now accept converting WMA or the DRM du jour into an iPod-acceptable format, and not just the iTMS allowing conversion of FairPlay files into a format other players can understand.

      I doubt that this law, if passed, would affect the sales of iPods much, though it might help the competing stores if they swallow that bitter pill and distribute in a non-DRM'ed format the iPod can understand.
  • by jimicus (737525)
    IANAL, but could someone who understands this better explain how France proposes to marry this law up with the European Copyright Directive, which AIUI provides a DMCA-like law across the EU.
    • The directives are subject to interpretation like everythinge else. And France has quite a bit of clout within the EU system, so I suppose they are not too afraid of sanctions, and rather hope to gather sufficient support for their interpretation, or else for changing the directive.
  • Misleading article (Score:5, Informative)

    by romain wartel (918183) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:04AM (#14914281)
    I'm afraid the article does not relate *at all* what happens in France at the moment, regarding DRM and "Internet piracy".

    The French parliament is currently discussing new laws, that will implement the EUCD directive, by forbidding and severly punishing any attempt to circumvent DRM protection and copyrighted material downloads. This project is called DADvSI.
    Some MPs are even pushing to forbid the development, diffusion and the use of P2P software.

    Lots of (artits, users, musicians, etc.) communities are opposed to all this.
    MPs first voted against this project and adopted a global licence (monthtly fee for unrestricted private downloads), but the French minister of Culture said it was not acceptable and he had the parliament to re-discuss the project again.

    More information (all in French) at:

    http://fr.news.yahoo.com/10032006/7/projet-dadvsi- la-licence-globale-repasse-la-trappe.html [yahoo.com]
    http://eucd.info/ [eucd.info]
    http://lestelechargements.fr/ [lestelechargements.fr]
    http://www.odebi.org/new/theme/ [odebi.org]
    http://www.adami.fr/ [adami.fr]
    • I can add to this that the DADSVI is making very angry open source supporters, most of little artists, consumers association, ect.. out here in France, as it's would make DRM protections impossible to circumvent without the risk of an infringment of about 750 Euros (users of VLC or any media players using DevCSS would have some serious problems...).
      But it also aim to permit interoperability (and you see here the problem : how can we make DRMised contents to be interoperable, as DRMs are made to stop intero
  • by frinsore (153020) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:18AM (#14914314)
    From what I can glean from the article it would be legal or required to have a program that converts one DRM format to another, but I don't see how this would require an unencrypted version of the media.
    Most likely all the DRM companies would come together to make a program that converts from each DRM to another, and probably impose a time on the key to ensure if company X's DRM is broken that doesn't allow a hole that all other DRM media can be drained out through.
    I digress.
    What this would do economically is allow all digital media to compete on an equal footing. Don't like the price of a song on Napster? try iTunes. Want the latest MS Plays for Sure device but have a backlog of iTunes media? just convert it over. This would give consumers choice in their digital media and break the lock in that currently exists.
    From what I know of Apple is that they make almost no money on iTunes but a huge amount on hardware, so in theory this would allow them to use their iTunes's competitors to seel iPods. And from the MS side this would break the stranglehold that Apple currently has on the portable media market. In theory this looks like a win-win for everyone. But I don't expect anyone to go for this, in business if your competitor is winning that usually means you're losing. And what multi-billion dollar company wants to take that chance?
  • Not a bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:26AM (#14914335)
    What is really required is for the law to state unequivocally, once and for all that, as long as you own a recording on a legitimately-acquired medium sanctioned by the copyright holder, your "fair dealing" rights include the right to make an unlimited number of copies of that recording in alternative formats for your own use, and to perform any necessary step in the process: copyright would not be infringed unless you used a copy you had made in some way that you would not be permitted to use the original.

    What would be even better would be a ban on DRM systems that prevent absolutely the exercise of Fair Dealing rights and/or copying under Special Licence {e.g., I have permission from the band Ocean Colour Scene to make copies of any of their work for my own use; any DRM system that does not take this into account, perhaps by requiring a password to enable copying, should be illegal}.
  • It's a false claim. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tulka$ (929724)
    This law is not for French customers but for the majors.
    The goal was to force DRM everywhere event if the content was a free WebRadio with free content.
    The second goal was to allow justice actions against every software that could be used to break copyright laws. (aka : remove DRM, exchange files, etc, etc.)
    The third goal was to track users who share and download files to make sanctions.

    BUT

    They tryed to vote the law the 23 december 2005 at 23h pm so nobody is at the parlement to oppose the law.
    They
  • by jchuillier (846178) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:54AM (#14914414)
    It's funny that all the "socialist-consumer friendly" laws happening in France right now are being enacted by the conservative government of our beloved leader Jacques "the great" Chirac.

    Last fall we had a law making it easy for customers to get out of phone and tv contracts where it was not possible to cancel the contract before the renewal period (usually 12 months).

    Keep in mind that elections are due next year and that for those unaware of French politics (although VERY funny) Chirac has been elected last time with 82% of the votes because he was facing our local facist Le Pen, so the left voters HAD to vote for Chirac in the second round of the presidential election of 2002.

    Then Chirac promised he would not "forget" this and make a government for "everybody" and not just for his "side". Of course this was quickly forgotten and now with the elections coming he has to steer a little bit to the left after 5 years of "shut up I've been elected and I do what I want".

    Additionally I work with Czech people and in Czech "Curak" pronouced "shurak" is very close to "sheerak" and means "Asshole", languages are great aren't they ? And Bush is pronounced like "bouche" in French which means "mouth" and also "liar" if you use it in "c'est une bouche" translated as "he's full of mouth"...

    Bottom line is that France is rediscovering freedom for consumers instead of corporations because elections are coming up, but it's a good time to grab things...
  • In related news.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by hyfe (641811) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:36AM (#14914515)
    To the ones wondering if France is big enough a market to force change;

    The same thing has been happening in both sweden [computerworld.no] and Norway [forbrukerportalen.no].
    And atleast for Norways case, I don't actually think there's any doubt iTunes are breaking Norwegian law. I mean, seriously.. retro-actively changing the terms of a deal, and claiming the other party has no right to reject or get out the deal is as silly as it gets.

    As it stands, if the iTunes EULA was legal and enforcable they could just add a clause saying 'Give us all your money!', and you'd be legally bound to do it.

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:29AM (#14914645)
    I hate DRM as much as the music/movie/MP3 lover but I don't think it's up to any government to legislate on this.

    If people want iPods and their DRM'ed music format, then I say good luck to all parties concerned - Apple have identified a marketplace for such products & customers are prepared to pay for them.

    Personally, although I use an MP3 player quite regularly, I won't buy an iPod because I won't be locked into using a proprietary music format using proprietary software on Windows only - I'd much rather have a less-featured MP3/OGG player that I can mount as a new drive in either Windows or Linux and copy across the tracks I rip from my music CDs.

    The point I'm trying to make is that this is entirely a consumer decision, not legislative. It's up to the potential customer to keep him/herself informed before making any purchases and if you don't like certain aspects of a product, then don't buy it - it's that simple.

    At this moment in time, I can rip any DVD or CD I currently own to play on whatever device I like and I'm therefore perfectly happy with the "fair use" I get from my movies & CDs - if what I am doing is against the law by circumventing DRM then so be it; if & when I'm caught doing it, I'll happily fight my case but my personal feeling is that it would never stand up in court where I own a legal copy of the original media.

    By allowing governments to take control of this kind of issue leaves them open, at a later stage, to corporate lobbying & bribery. Plus I don't want the "Nanny State" removing me of even more of my own decision-making process as a well-informed, intelligent citizen.

    • Personally, although I use an MP3 player quite regularly, I won't buy an iPod because I won't be locked into using a proprietary music format using proprietary software on Windows only - I'd much rather have a less-featured MP3/OGG player that I can mount as a new drive in either Windows or Linux and copy across the tracks I rip from my music CDs.

      FUD. When launched the iPod was an MP3 player. It still plays MP3s. I rip everything as MP3 because that is the most portable format. Yes Ogg has better quality

  • by jeremie_z_ (639708) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:49AM (#14914707) Homepage
    The Law project is the transposition of the EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive) that is the DMCA's sibling, both descending from the WIPO treaty of 1996.

    The main objective of this project it the legal protection of the "technical protection measures" (DRM) and the outlawing of their circumvention.

    The french project though, goes much further in that direction than what the directive imposes, it is, in its current state, the most restrictive DMCA in the world!

    The activists of the Free Software Foundation France founded the EUCD.INFO initiative [eucd.info] to fight against those legal restriction that endengers the interoperability and the will of Free Software developpers.

    This Vanneste guy is the "rapporteur", which means he is the one who wrote the law, and he is very unpleased that some of the EUCD.INFO amendements may be included in his project, rendering it an inoffensive version of the DMCA, comparable to the US one with some of the recent exceptions.

    There is a long list of incredible things done by Vanneste (including being recognized guilty in his trial for homophobic declarations, protesting against a pacifist movie about the Algerian decolonization war with extreme-right folks, passing a law which recognize the positive role of colonization, etc...), and by the government (propaganda about "unlawful downloading" being the point of all this law project, opening a propaganda [lestelechargements.com] website about it which censors a so-called "democratic debate" where 95% of the comments are against that law project, removing amendements voted by the parliament which are in the opposite direction of the general restrictive axis, pushing amendments written by Vivendi-Universal, etc.)

    I think you'll hear again about this DADVSI (the short name for "author's right and neighbour's right in the information society) law project, whatever the outcome may be!

The end of labor is to gain leisure.

Working...