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French Parliament Fights iPod and iTunes 323

f00lforb00l writes "According to an article in New York Times, the French parliament is considering legislation which would require that the iPod also be able to use music from services other than the iTunes Store." From the article: "The outcome of the debate, which began as an update to French copyright law, is far from clear. But taken to one logical conclusion, amendments to the copyright bill could lead Apple, the market leader, to leave the French music business, said Jonathan Arber, a research analyst in London at the technology consultancy Ovum. 'My gut feeling is that Apple will simply pull out of France if these amendments get through,' Mr. Arber said. 'Weighed against breaking their business model for all markets, it doesn't make sense for Apple to continue operating with the iPod and iTunes in France.'" Update: 03/17 15:46 GMT by Z : A previous story covering this topic may also be of interest to you. Sorry, folks.
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French Parliament Fights iPod and iTunes

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  • by aaribaud ( 585182 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:37AM (#14941831)
    ... to access other formats, but not forced to. Anyway, this is one interpretation of a law still to be discussed by the senators, and even right now, the text isn't that clear.
  • retarded? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:38AM (#14941841)
    the ipod can use all kinds of music from all kinds of places other than the itunes music store. it just can't play other store's DRM. talk to the other stores and have them release their music as non-DRM mp3 or AAC and the ipod will play it just fine.
  • by Bazzalisk ( 869812 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:49AM (#14941946) Homepage
    Please stop misusing the term "free market". A market free of government restriction is not a free market. A free market is a market in its purest mathematical sense - free of any constraints other than having the most basic properties of a market. Such a thing is a theoretical construct that can be used in modeling of certain situations - but is not the same thing as a real market, which will always have additional constraints upon it (such as tgransport costs, retooling costs, the realities of human behaviour, limitted knowledge, monopolies, limitted resources, limitted communication, etc ...).

    Anti-competative law is designed to allow a government to intervene in a realworld market to make it behave more like a free-market.

    In this case the government in question may not know what it's doing - but this has nothing to do with "interfering with a free-market".

  • Not just iPod (Score:3, Informative)

    by dafz1 ( 604262 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @11:56AM (#14941999)
    For those who didn't RTFA, this doesn't just affect the iPod and iTunes. This applies to all devices capable of playing content available from online sources, including Sony's Walkman mp3 players.

    This is typical government sticking it's nose somewhere it doesn't belong. If Apple wants to lock their iTMS content to iPods, let them do it. If a consumer wants to crack Fairplay, using tools that would appear to be legal in France, once this legislation passes, let them do it. Or, at least, mp3 player companies should have to create, and provide, tools to convert files to a compatible format. Again, this only applies to France, such tools would be illegal in other countries.
  • Re:Is this logical? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sxpert ( 139117 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:02PM (#14942052)
    note: I'm from france, and I am following the issue

    well, let's put it this way.

    The DMCA (and it's EU corrolary called EUCD - European Union Copyright Directive) both stem from the same WIPO treaty.
    The Directive offers ample possibilities so as to state anything in state law. It's each government choice as to what will be in the local law.

    The french government has been lobbied by Vivendi Universal (and friends) and decided to select the worst possible things in the law-to-be

    Here's what the head of the culture department said

    1) peer 2 peer software have to have a device that will detect if the shared file(s) are currently protected under copyright law
    2) said software will then report the people doing the deeds to the cops

    the law also states
    3) the peer 2 peer software may be proprietary or free
    4) if the peer 2 peer software is designed purposely for illegal transfers, the editor may get 3 years in jail and fined 300000 eur
    5) it is illegal to remove the technical protection measures that would do 1 and 2

    (plus more of the same)

  • History lesson (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:14PM (#14942149)
    Let me introduce you to the God-damn Napoleonic Wars [wikipedia.org], in which France conquered Europe, more or less.

    You may also be interested in the Hundred Years' War [wikipedia.org].

    The French were long a warlike and vicious nation. They were very, very good at fighting. Germany steamrolled them *once* to such an extent that there was no point fighting... Germany is right there next to France. It's not like the U.S., bravely entering the war from eight thousand miles away, two years late.

    I don't even like the French much, and I'm mostly in favour of peace, but the surrender joke is just ignorant.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:16PM (#14942164)
    http://allofmp3.com/ [allofmp3.com]
  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:55PM (#14942548)
    Or more likely order over the internet.

    Or simply do what a large proportion of iPod users (including myself) do, and simply encode their own mp3s from CD.

  • control (Score:3, Informative)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:05PM (#14942653)
    Apple wants to maintain their total control over the iPod and what it can play. It's as simple as that.

    100% wrong. The iPod supports MP3, AAC, WAV, and AIFF, in -addition- to Fairplay. Any company would not have to pay a single penny to apple to become "compatible" with the iPod if they offered their music in any single one of those formats.
  • by j79 ( 875929 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:00PM (#14944232)
    4) You'll have to open the ipod anyway....a few people (I did) are buying alternative mp3 player because thay want to play open formats, have more interoperability...People won't like the fact that the music they bought can't be played on other places than their ipod (they just don't realize it yet). Despite looks, a product that can't do half what the concurence does, can't be that cool...

    Sorry, but you lost me on this part. A few people you know are buying alternative mp3 players because they want to play open formats? Which formats do they consider "open"? While protected AAC is definitely not "open", the AAC format itself is based on an open standard. WMA? Microsoft proprietary standard.

    Also, the iPod has compatibility with the most popular open format out there, MP3. It has support for WAV files as well.

    Interoperability? So, what you're saying is that instead of being tied to Apple's eco-system of online music, your friends prefer Microsofts solution?? Because, there are only TWO major choices out there right now - Apple and Microsoft. And while you may have a larger "selection" with Microsoft in terms of music players (with 75% of those players being cheap, inferior products compared to the iPod and the 25% remaining WMA-based players), you're still tied down to Microsoft. Look at it this way: Say you're a PC users and you bought music from an online music store like Napster or Real encoded with WMA, and then decided to "switch" over to a Mac, you're fucked. You're stuck with a bunch of proprietary music that won't play on a Mac thanks to Microsoft. Interoperability? As a Mac user, I know my music will play on either a PC or Mac. As far as "online" music goes, it's the most elegant system out there....and the one with the most interoperability.
  • by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:02PM (#14944256)
    This is not about Apple breaking the law, this is about France passing a new law to specifically force Apple to do something they desire. It's like a town passing a law that says Bob has to stop wearing that stupid hat.

    It's more like France passing a pro-consumer law to prevent vendor lock-in. Oh wait, it's not like that, it is that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:13AM (#14947268)
    Under the new law, you can only get fired if you are under the age of 26, have worked less than 2 years, and are incompetant. What's hilarious about the situation is the law was passed because companies refuse to hire people because they cannot fire them...

    WRONG. Under French law, you can fire anyone in the private sector, you just can't do it for free (i.e. you have to pay indemnities) -- and you can fire for free anyone who make a "heavy mistake" (like not showing up in the past month, telling the customers to go see a competitor, burning the company bus for fun, or whatever).

    Under French law, you can fire anyone by paying about 1% of the wages you paid him. I.e. decrease the salary of everyone by one huge 1%, save it, and bingo, you can fire again everyone at will like in the US.
    The fact that companies are unwilling to pay 1% to fire someone, tells more about the companies, and how advantageous it is for them to firing someone.

    Unemployment among people under 26 is at 23%.

    This is only partly related to the problem. If the firing laws were relaxed, they people will just fire the older people and hire younger fresh force - this is not necessary a good thing. Since I gather from your anti-social-laws stance that you are a younger from US, UK (or China), you'll likely to experience this later in your life when you will become 50+ years old. Good luck.

    The real problem for young people is that French University education quite far from industrial world, unlike for instance in Germany (which still enjoy the same general unemployment rate, but NOT same youth unemployment rate). But at the same time a general education (which is not labour-oriented), may be have positive benefits (as for changing job sectors, understanding other countries' culture, not believing there are WMDs in some other country, ...).

    The problem is the unemployment level in general, which comes from the fact that in the past 20 years, the benefits of the growth has benefited much more the capital owners than the employees, and as a complementary and related issue, the decrease of the value of unqualified work. 50% of unemployed people in France have no diploma - 25 other % have only a sub-bachelor diploma.

    In the US and UK, the problem was solved by firing people, and then offering jobs at a much lower salary (or in the US, putting 2% of the workforce in jail, as indirect effect of "Tough Laws").

    So unemployment has skyrocketed.

    No. when the law was passed, and the years after, France enjoyed a good growth (indeed in 2000 for instance, growth in France was greater than the US). This is not necessarily correlated, but the current unemployment rate in France is more due to the fact that the growth is slow. It's easy: bad growth -> unemployed in France, fire the people and let them have lower salary and shit jobs in US ; good growth -> everything is fine in both countries. The poison you choose depends on your culture.

    In other terms, your simplist analysis doesn't hold. This is not too surprising, because, you known, most of the people elected or having governement job with great responsibilies, have a little more that the bachelor diploma, and can grasp some of the complexities of the modern world.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor