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France Considers Anti-DRM 'iPod Law' 189

Asklepius M.D. writes "According to the Washington Post, France is contemplating legislation designed to 'to force compatibility between digital songs and the different machines that play them.' Known colloquially as the 'iPod bill', it is opposed by Apple, the Business Software Alliance, and others who refer to it as 'state-sponsored piracy.' Two versions of the bill have already passed France's Senate and National Assembly. From the article: 'Under the proposed law, Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corp., Dell Inc. and other companies could have to reveal trade secrets of their software so that their songs can play on competitors' devices.'"
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France Considers Anti-DRM 'iPod Law'

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  • by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:58PM (#15412932)
    I despise DRM more. So, goodie for France!
  • by Embedded2004 ( 789698 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:59PM (#15412939)
    This would be extremely good for consumers. As a consumer I'd love for a law like that in my country. Obviously it sucks for companies like Apple.
    • Is it good for consumers if it means that players and media are removed from the market?

      This issue, like most things, isn't as black and white as people around here seem to like to think.
      • Which is better, multiple competing standards or interoperability? Take a look at the Unix world or the US mobile phone market for examples of what a crap idea the former is.
      • Is it good for consumers if it means that players and media are removed from the market?

        Ya gotta remember media would ever possibly be removed from the market if DRM was removed. As much as Apple would like you believe otherwise, this proposed law has nothing to do with removing DRM. It simply wants DRM to at least be interoperable so if you buy a device your media will play on it. Now as for players.... well removing proprietary players sounds good to me.
        • What would be the state of the recorded music business now if vinyl (and 78s before that) from each label had only played on certain brands of record player? I suspect that it would never have taken off. Vinyl, cassettes and CDs (at least until the recent 'copy protected' ones) are universal and can be played on any player. So surely it would be best to keep the neutrality between the music publishers and hardware suppliers and not tie digital music sales to particular hardware.
      • Exacltly. Black and white is a universally accepted(open?) digital format.
        This post is in black and white!
        All issues can be black and white if you want them to be.

      • Yes, because if the existing player vacate the market, then it will with absolute certainty be filled by others that are willing to play by the new rules. This is France, that's a very large pot of money that isn't going to be overlooked.

        Go France! Let's hope it spreads.

        Of course, that said, I quite happily purchase iTunes music on my Linux box and listen to them howsoever I like. ;)
      • From TFA:

        Both versions would decriminalize piracy and make it equivalent to a traffic infraction, with fines that computer companies say are so small they would offer no deterrence.

        Let 'em withdraw, and vive le Torrent!

    • How does this help mac users like me? I have an iPod because WMA based DRM devices do not work under OS X. This law would not force MSFT to write a version of WMP for OS X that supported DRM. All it would do is provide competitors access to iTMS.
      • by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday May 26, 2006 @08:09PM (#15413586) Homepage Journal
        Fuck Apple. They're the monopoly in this case, so they deserve the most punishment. I bought a number of songs from iTMS, and that was fine when I had a Mac. As the quality of OS X declined with each release (10.4.5 killed pubcookie on two production servers...), I decided to give up on Apple and bought a Dell running Debian (from which I type this post). Unfortunately, I can't play the music that I legally bought. I have to download music from BitTorrent, harming the artists and the record companies. If I had a choice, I'd pay for music, but I don't have that option anymore. CDs aren't an option, since I only want one song.

        Sorry, Apple, but you need to be open. Selling music online legally is great. Discriminating against who you sell music to isn't. (For the record, iHave an iPod, so Apple wouldn't be "losing" anything by selling to me. Only gaining.)

        Whatever, I don't like American music anyway. When will I be able to buy JPop and good digital classical recordings online? When will I be able to buy uncompressed 5 channel surround recordings? That sort of stuff would really excite me, and really open my wallet ;)
        • by Ilex ( 261136 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @07:33AM (#15415293)
          It seems your anti Apple stance has got you modded down. You do however have a vaild point.


          Unfortunately, I can't play the music that I legally bought. I have to download music from BitTorrent, harming the artists and the record companies. If I had a choice, I'd pay for music, but I don't have that option anymore. CDs aren't an option, since I only want one song.


          You say that while you wish to pay the artist and the record companies you cannot, you are being forced to piracy because of the anti consumer measures built into the product you legally purchased.

          This is how Digital Restrictions Management is fuelling piracy and reducing the income of the artists.

          Personally I couldn't give a stuff about the record companies. They've had their day, it's over.

          Their function was the recording and distribution of other peoples music. In the analogue physical world this is expensive but In the digital world anyone can record and distribute music, be it their own or anyone else's. Now the record companies only function are to take money from both the artist and consumer. DRM is their way of artificially imposing the restrictions of the physical world on digital media ensuring their continuation buy enabling them to buy at below market value from the artists and sell at an inflated price to you the consumer. The RIAA represents the rights of the artist like a Pimp represents the rights of prostitutes.

          There are a lot of fair trade 'DRM-free' legal music sites appearing now and I hope they will prove the downfall of the majors or at least make them sit up and take notice that DRM is a foolish policy. Fair Trade Music can only work if people are willing to buy it and this where piracy hurts truly free music.

          On the other side I can see that people really like a particular artist or track but they are affiliated to the music fascists. In this case you must make the choice between giving money to a corrupt cartel or piracy. IMO the major labels are stifling music. I would rather see more artists producing music at a lower salary rather than a limited number of 'lucky' ones who are getting all of the money. If you don't think it's fair then you don't love music so get out! Given this I feel that obtaining music through piracy is the lesser evil but that those who choose this path must remember that it is only a lesser evil and not the true solution that open fair trade music is.
        • Unfortunately, I can't play the music that I legally bought. I have to download music from BitTorrent, harming the artists and the record companies.

          If you bought the music, you have a lifetime license to listen to the music regardless of the format of the recording. The artists and record companies are not harmed as long as money is going from you to them.

          When will I be able to buy JPop and good digital classical recordings online?

          Don't bother. Please continu
      • If Apple wanted to licence "Plays For Sure" WMP-DRM, do you really think Microsoft would turn them down? I think you need to re-evaluate who is preventing Macs from supporting this.
      • This would help you a lot.

        Right now there is no competition, so Apple can charge a premium. Lock-in is great for the vendor, terrible for the consumer.

        If you were free to buy any player/device to play iTunes songs then Apple wouldn't be able to charge as much.

        If you were free to use other music service (eg. Yahoo's music service is cheaper and for higher audio quality) then hopefully they would start to support the Mac platform and then iTunes would have to lower its prices.
  • but... i admire france for this

    i feel like i have to go take a shower after saying that...

    hey! i just said something very un-french ;-)

    all is well again
  • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:00PM (#15412953) Journal
    People keep toeing Apple's party line that this is anti-DRM. It's not at all. It's anti-proprietary DRM.
    You can have DRM, you just have to tell other industry players how to interoperate with it.

    This is like saying the DVD Consortium is anti-DRM, because multiple companies belong.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:17PM (#15413062) Homepage
      People keep toeing Apple's party line that this is anti-DRM. It's not at all. It's anti-proprietary DRM.
      You can have DRM, you just have to tell other industry players how to interoperate with it.


      But if you have DRM with tons of different implementations and universal converters it is almost certain somewhere it'll be broken. You can't simply soft-upgrade like iTunes has done many times over as Hymn etc. broke their protection, because all players, media centers and so on need to upgrade. The "value" of hacking a DRM system is proportional to how much content it protects. Telling them to have one universal DRM system is like telling them to put every egg in a giant basket.
      • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:51PM (#15413230) Homepage Journal
        No, not really. Let's take the encryption component, for example. For that, you have two choices: you can filter your encrypted content into a universally sharable format that is encrypted using a public key encryption algorithm (such as RSA). You can then exchange keys using one of the standard key exchange algorithms. The recipient can then decrypt the content and re-encrypt it in its native format.


        The second option is for the intended recipient to transmit a public key (well, not really public since only the content holder will receive it). The content holder then decrypts the content and uses the public key obtained to build an SSL tunnel to the recipient, which can then re-encrypt it natively.


        Ok, that handles that part. Now we need the data format. This will contain one or more of DRM headers, DRM data, and content. Since the data is encrypted in transit, using keys only the two parties know, we don't need DRM protections, only the DRM information. By ripping out the DRM, then converting that information into XML or some other "universal" format, we can preserve the DRM information without needing the DRM to be active.


        At the destination, the DRM meta-data is then parsed. Those elements for which no local definition exists would be dropped, and those elements not filled by the meta-data would be set to the most constrained values allowed. The protections may change, with such a system, but they should average out.


        We now have a universal DRM exchange protocol that needs to know NOTHING about any foreign DRM mechanisms and therefore does NOT need to be patched as new formats come out, and does NOT need to be bloated with a multitude of foreign algorithms. All it needs is an industry-standard XML template, an implementation of RSA, an industry-standard public key exchange mechanism and optionally an implementation of SSL.


        Total hardware complexity? One standard encryption chip and one moderate-sized FPGA should be sufficient. Two scraps of silicon, adding maybe a couple of grammes to the total weight. I can really see this killing the entire music industry... assuming the entire music industry is in fact a small piece of blue-green algae and the chips are dropped on it from an altitude of 30,000 feet.

        • No, not really. Let's take the encryption component, for example. For that, you have two choices: you can filter your encrypted content into a universally sharable format that is encrypted using a public key encryption algorithm (such as RSA). You can then exchange keys using one of the standard key exchange algorithms. The recipient can then decrypt the content and re-encrypt it in its native format.

          If some company can decrypt the data, and convert it into another format, this system you're proposing only

          • Ok, the method works on the basis that the sender can convert the DRM formatted data into an un-DRMed version that is encrypted such that only the authorized recipient can decrypt it. The metadata used to describe what the DRM is actually protecting, how, and in what way, is also copied across in this way.

            It is perfectly true that the recipient need not re-constitute the DRM scheme (using its own methods), so that would need to be protected by law. I don't see that being a significant problem, though. The F

            • So...
              you're in favor of outlawing music players with an optical line out? This is something which has a useful purpose (highest quality digital audio to a receiver), and is becoming universal in higher-end audi equipment. But, of course, it makes DRM largely irrelevant....

              Any DRM scheme is going to involve LAWS that, to an ordinary person (I include my self), seem rediculous.

              Of course, they wouldn't be the first laws for which that is true...
              • by jd ( 1658 )
                Analogue systems are far too important, far too valuable, to simply be banned. Furthermore, to outlaw a species of technology for the sole purpose of promoting another species of technology is absurd (and speciesist). Analogue technology is also very important, as it is proving to be far more durable and far more portable than digital systems. You absolutely want to be able to copy stuff into analogue formats.

                How would my proposal work with this, though? You are correct that DRM schemes don't cross over int

                • Re:No. (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by wpegden ( 931091 )
                  I think maybe you didn't understand my post. An optical digital out is on the back of many stereos these days. (There is one coming out of my soundcard.) It can be sent to some digital receivers instead of using standard coax cables for better quality sound. However, since the optical output is digital, it can be used with a recording device to make a perfect copy of the digital original. This is existing technology. Question: what happens to this technology? Do you oulaw it? I have trouble finding
                  • Hey, it happens to the best of us. And to me as well. Hmmmm, that's a tough one. I dislike intensely solutions that cripple (or outlaw) technologies. It is better to make advances somewhere else. Of course, you do need to add a dash of common sense. Hydrogen bombs at Walmart would not be a good idea - at least, not until technology is a LOT more advanced and humans have socially matured somewhat.

                    Ok, where does the optical digital output fit into this? Well, IMHO it is a reasonable technology, therefore shou

        • So? Imagine I'm on a trip and want to transfer some music from my laptop to my portable music player, which aren't natively compatible. There's no online authentication, you need a tool. Let's further assume the music player's DRM has been broken, but that the laptop's DRM hasn't. Instead I re-DRM it to my music player and un-DRM it there. The other system is broken by virtue of being compatible with a broken system. Since the general idea is that every system should be compatible with everything else, one
          • And? Few points here:

            1. ALL DRM will eventually be broken. It's simply an inevitability. If nothing else, a microphone, videocamera, or screen capture will -always- be capable of producing a DRM-free version of anything, and at that point it spreads virally. They're intending it as a speed bump that might deter a few copies-and they may be losing more customers then they're gaining with the frustration. I might use itunes myself rather than Bittorrent-but not with DRM on 'em, not even when I know how to b

          • I'm picturing that each DRM player would carry an X.509 certificate that has been produced by a "well known" party - in much the same way they do for use on secure websites. Authentication would then simply be a matter of each machine verifying that the certificate has been correctly signed. The certificates are then used to form your secure transport between the two DRM devices. Outside authentication or external tools would be unnecessary and cumbersome.

            You are correct that my idea is that every system sh

        • that at the end of the day, France is a wonderful country.
        • For everyone who got lost reading through the parents' encryption catch-words, there's one thing that you must notice. This system is not possible to implement unless there is a internet connection to authenticate each time a file is played. This creates a few problems.

          First, the content providers will need a better infrastructure to handle their content; of course, it is their current failure that causes the problems that france is trying to address, but they will not like having to fix their own problem
          • Forcing content providers to provide, well, content is hardly a bad thing. :) If a provider creates an obligation for itself, which is witnessed, then it is a gentleman's agreement which (in the UK, at least) is as enforcable as any written contract.

            But, yes, my system does force providers to constantly upgrade their technologies. All of their technologies. The pressure would be on them, and they would have to grow or die.

            For the authentication, I'm thinking much the same system as for SSL. Each device woul

        • In everything you've described, what motivation does the "recipient" have to reencrypt it? At every step you are counting on the software of the person recieving the file to say, "Yep, I'll do something my user doesn't want." How long do you expect that to last? All of the functionality you describe would be easy indeed to put in any player, but it would also be easy to put in decryptMyMusic.exe . At the very least you would need some kind of system to authenticate the recieving piece of software as one tha
      • Really though, the best DRM can ever do is deter casual infringers. The more savvy people will always find a way around DRM in the same way that a lock on your door can't prevent a determined criminal from getting into your house.
    • by blincoln ( 592401 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:21PM (#15413074) Homepage Journal
      You can have DRM, you just have to tell other industry players how to interoperate with it.

      If anyone can make a program that plays DRM-protected files, what's to stop someone from making one that outputs the file in an unencrypted format?

      Furthermore, I assume Apple is concerned about losing their de facto monopoly on players that can play DRM'd music from ITMS.

      Personally I think France's plan is awesome. Consumer choice is more important than protecting crappy DRM technology.
      • If anyone can make a program that plays DRM-protected files, what's to stop someone from making one that outputs the file in an unencrypted format?

        But does this law cover software-only designs, or just hardware?
        Everything I've been reading says hardware.
        • But does this law cover software-only designs, or just hardware? Everything I've been reading says hardware.

          Maybe I'm missing your point, but even if it were about hardware, it's a simple process to take the hardware documentation and use it to come up with a software (or software/hardware) system that doesn't enforce the restrictions.
      • If anyone can make a program that plays DRM-protected files, what's to stop someone from making one that outputs the file in an unencrypted format?

        The exact same law you love so much.

        • The exact same law you love so much.

          I'm having trouble understanding the meaning of what appears to be a jab at me, but anyway. Depending on the law is exactly how non-DRM'd systems work. So I'm not seeing how adding DRM into the mix is any better. The people who refuse to pay for anything still will.
          • The problem is that you (and most journalists) don't understand what the law is about. It requires the use of DRM for things like web radios. It makes circumventing DRM a criminal offense.
    • DRM ultimately relies on security-through-obscurity (complemented by security-through-heavy-handed-government-action, see DeCSS), because it relies on the authorized user of data being able to use the data stream without actually being able to access the data stream.

      If authorized users also had information on how the system worked, they'd be able to get their DRM'd data out into the clear and do with it whatever they wanted.

      This is like saying the DVD Consortium is anti-DRM, because multiple companies belon

  • by MassEnergySpaceTime ( 957330 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:03PM (#15412975)
    "Under the proposed law, Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corp., Dell Inc. and other companies could have to reveal trade secrets of their software so that their songs can play on competitors' devices." ... reveal trade secrets or come up with an agreed upon standard so that any song can be played anywhere else, similar to how CDs can be played on and brand CD players. In the latter case, there'd be no trade secrets to reveal.

    Hmm, how about the unprotected mp3 format? Nah, that's too simple.
    • How about unencrypted AAC, which provides higher quality sound with smaller file sizes than MP3.

      Half my library is in AAC format, as are a lot of less knowledgeable users. Why these silly electronics companies keep releasing players that only support MP3 & Microsoft formats I don't know -- I'd love to buy from Sony, but I'm sure as hell not going to re-rip my entire library.

      Oh....wait...why does my Sony cellular phone play AAC tracks, while a Sony portable music player doesn't?

      Kind of makes my head shak
  • Great news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnud ( 934243 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:03PM (#15412977)
    This is great news!
    In countries, like Norway, where I live, where DRM is not protected by law, this will allow hardware and software to support every format they want to. If it passes, of course. Vive la France!
  • Still not sure... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hitchcock_Blonde ( 717330 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:04PM (#15412982) Homepage
    ...how this is good for France, since the businesses will just pack up and leave.
    • by Lord Kano ( 13027 )
      ...how this is good for France, since the businesses will just pack up and leave.

      Other businesses will be happy to take their place. It's not like no one will EVERY do business in France because the law protects consumers more than businesses.

      It's like the drug companies saying that if the US imposes price controls on medicines that they won't have a profit motive to sell the drugs here. Well, Canada has price controls and they're quite happy to sell their wares there.

      LK
      • It's like the drug companies saying that if the US imposes price controls on medicines that they won't have a profit motive to sell the drugs here. Well, Canada has price controls and they're quite happy to sell their wares there.

        LK


        They will always sell drugs, the question is do they invest lots of money on development if the path to a return is hindered substantially?

        --Joey
    • "since the businesses will just pack up and leave."
      And be replaced by French business. The French music scene is quite large.
    • That makes as much sense as watching the RIAA pack up and leave if DRM is banned.

      Waitamiunute!! Why don't we try??? Maybe that was their idea along...

      Somehow I don't think it would be that simple.

      E
    • by jabbo ( 860 ) <jabbo@NoSPAM.yahoo.com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:44PM (#15413190)
      Do you honestly think that someone else won't fill the void?

      That's the beauty of a properly functioning free market. DRM, abusive terms of copyright, and poor patent practices all attempt to break the free market. But it has survived in the past, and will continue to in the future.

      Apple doesn't want to lose the French market, and they don't want to play fair with their competitors. Too bad. The French government giveth them rights, and taketh them away, as it suits the interests of the French.
    • ...how this is good for France, since the businesses will just pack up and leave.

      France is a multi-billion market for the music industry. Do you think Apple and others will just leave? Suffer a loss in income and profit, resulting in a drop of the market shares value? Will the shareholders agree? I don't know. Not to mention that if France passes this law, other countries will follow? Will Apple and others then close their business? I don't know...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:08PM (#15413010)
    The bills have already been altered in such a way that not only will Apple NOT be hurt by the bill but will most likely benefit in the long run. The French public was so infuriated by the changes in the bill that they have already had public demonstrations protesting the French governments bending to big business. Do a little DD before posting such nonsense. This is OLD news.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:10PM (#15413020)
    If General Lafayette and French Foreign Legion handn't helped George Washington and the Continental Army during the Revolution, we'd all be speaking English right now.

    • Funny you mention that. Remember that big uproar a few weeks ago about the US National Anthem being translated into Spanish? Yeah, we want to keep the official language of the US the one approved by King George! If wanted to speak something else, we would have had a revolution!
  • Unfortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jchernia ( 590097 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:11PM (#15413024)
    This may only serve to help the record labels.

    Consider that Apple was able to keep the price of singles down to $.99 in the last round of negotiations. If the record labels could have cut off Apple without losing the iPod market (which they couldn't because Fairplay is closed), they would have (and only sold to retailers willing to sell out their customers).

    With a large marketshare behind them Apple was able to leverage buying power for its customers and drive down price. Other examples of this include Wal-Mart or CostCo.

  • Hard drive crash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3&phroggy,com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:12PM (#15413027) Homepage
    My hard drive with all my music files crashed, and I can't transfer the songs from my handheld into a new computer?

    There are two components to this: being able to actually copy the files onto another computer, and being able to play them. With the iPod, Apple does not currently provide a way to copy music from the iPod onto a computer; it can be done easily enough on Linux or using third-party software, but for the average user, it can't be done. Of course Apple's position is that if they allowed this, it would encourage piracy, and they're right, it would (if I had an iPod and Apple made it easy to copy songs from it, I would use it to share MP3s with other people far more often than I would ever use it to copy MP3s onto my own computer). Nevertheless, it would be nice if Apple added a way to copy music from an iPod.

    To be fair, when you buy anything from the iTunes Music Store, you are advised to back it up on CD or something. I think they've tried to make it clear that copying to an iPod is not a replacement for backups. I've heard that if you call Apple and whine enough, they'll let you re-download all your purchases, which is nice of them, but really, backing up your data is your own responsibility.

    The other issue here is playing the files on a different computer. Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers at a time, and normally you can deauthorize computers you'll no longer be using... but if the hard drive in an authorized computer dies, you can't deauthorize it yourself. If you don't use multiple computers, you can just ignore this problem until you hit your limit of five. Otherwise, if you call Apple and explain the situation, they can remove the authorization from your account. So it's really not a huge problem right now.
    • Re:Hard drive crash (Score:2, Informative)

      by DaveM753 ( 844913 )
      With the iPod, Apple does not currently provide a way to copy music from the iPod onto a computer

      iTunes software allows you to:

      Burn downloaded iTunes songs onto a CD
      Re-rip the CD back into iTunes as MP3 files
      Once they're MP3s, you can copy and play them with any MP3 player.

      I do this all the time, and listen to songs downloaded via iTunes on my Palm. It's a couple of extra steps, but it works just fine.
      • Re:Hard drive crash (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phroggy ( 441 ) *
        When you reencode to MP3, you lose quality. Many people don't really notice, but please be aware that it's a concern for some people.
    • Re:Hard drive crash (Score:3, Informative)

      by mytec ( 686565 ) *
      ...you call Apple and explain the situation, they can remove the authorization from your account. So it's really not a huge problem right now.

      You can do it yourself from your account settings on iTMS. I think the limit is once every 12 months that you can deauthorize all the computers associated with your account.

    • Of course, it's precisely the issue of DRM that keeps me from buying the damned songs online in the first place. Here's a real life example: I heard Christopher Cross's "Ride Like The Wind" on the radio. For whatever reason, I liked the song and wanted to get the thing. Because I don't run Windows, I [b]didn't even bother to look at the legal sources.[/b] I just went to GnutellaNet.
    • Of course Apple's position is that if they allowed this, it would encourage piracy, and they're right, it would (if I had an iPod and Apple made it easy to copy songs from it, I would use it to share MP3s with other people far more often than I would ever use it to copy MP3s onto my own computer).

      ...but sharing MP3s physically with close friends and family would certainly be a whole lot closer to fair use than sharing it with 10000 "friends" on the Internet, at least if you were the original purchaser of
  • by i am kman ( 972584 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:13PM (#15413034)
    OMG - what's the problem here. It's just like France to step in to regulate the market and punish businesses simply because they make too great a product.

    You have a merchant selling proprietary content for a proprietary device. If you don't like the model, just buy from someone else. It's really not that complicated. That's what capitalism is all about and why much of the IT world is rapidly moving towards open standards.

    Next thing you know, France will force all the telcos to make sure all the ringtones and video games I download to my phone can run on all the other little phones. It's ridiculous!!

    (Ok, Apple's iPod policy pisses me off too, but I have a CHOICE. Apple has always been extremely proprietary and controlling which is the main reason their stuff works so well).
    • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @08:07PM (#15413577)
      Yes you are totally right. Oh, wait.... Mac users like me cannot use WMA based devices because MSFT has never written software to support that format DRM'd on OS X. The same thing goes for Linux btw.

      If Apple is proprietary, what does that make MSFT technology? Their software only works on windows and with devices certified by them with the "playsforsure" logo. Nice try there pal. You almost pulled the wool over their eyes.

      With iTunes, you are not "locked" into one OS and you are not locked into using an iPod either. Burning to CD is always an option.

      I like the fact that I can use my music and devices in both OS X and windows if I so choose. With WMA technology, you can only use windows and MSFT approved devices.

  • by iSeal ( 854481 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:13PM (#15413037)
    Fears of revealing trade secrets?

    Does this not go against the most fundamental rule of designing good encryption and good security systems? That is to say, expose the inner-workings of the system to public scrutiny? Or are they afraid that this could open up their devices to competitors?

    DRM. Is it about protecting music, or is it about preventing competition?
    • DRM. Is it about protecting music, or is it about preventing competition?

      I can answer that. When I spoke with an industry illuminary (to remain anonymous), and pointed out that any form of DRM is susceptible to piracy simply because of the nature of DRM. His answer to me was... no, you misunderstand, it's (DRM) not about stopping piracy, it's about making it difficult for average consumers to make copies. So, the good guy, who buys the music/video/whatever is who is being inconvenienced. Who in their r

  • by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <rrw@hell.pl> on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:15PM (#15413044) Journal
    There's one thing that I don't understand. How can there be "state-sponsored copyright infrigment" if the copyright itself is state-granted?

    I know, that this might be shocking for some people, but copyright isn't a natural law. It is the state (mandated by the people) that sets the terms and conditions of copyright and if some author doesn't like it he can take his toys and go home.

    Robert
    • but copyright isn't a natural law

      Some would argue that it is. Some would even argue that it goes back to a Judeo-Christian principle that a "laborer is worthy of his wages" and that a government is merely recognizing their responsibility to protect that right.

      Some would also argue that I am smoking crack... but that's just part of the fun of arguing.

      • That is not a "Judeo-Christian principle." The most you could say is that it's a principle grounded in the Protestant work-ethic. But the idea of equating labor to wages is relatively modern.
      • Some would argue that it is.
        "Some" may so assert, but no coherent argument can be made for it. Nature has seen that whatever I say can be repeated, whatever I write can be transcribed, whatever I sing or play or paint or sculpt or otherwise reveal to another person can be reproduced.
      • Some would argue that it is. Some would even argue that it goes back to a Judeo-Christian principle that a "laborer is worthy of his wages" and that a government is merely recognizing their responsibility to protect that right.

        I could more or less agree with that, but I don't see how you could put into this picture:
        • People, for generations to come getting benefits from some work of art done by some guy they've never met; us, mere mortals, when we want to secure our heirs, we have to save money; if we want to
        • I understand and basically agree with most of what you say. My point was pretty much limited to the concept of copyright as opposed to the current implementation. Copyright is a lot like taxes and tarriffs, you can only extend/increase them so much before people find it easier to just break the law. Lord Macaulay [wikipedia.org] wrote/said some interesting things on the subject of copyright, things with which I readily agree. You can read them in full here [kuro5hin.org] and an excerpt here [okfn.org].

          Here are a few more excerpts:

          I will only say t

          • The only thing you said that I really disagree with is this:

            Authors of the works getting slavery wages while all benefits are ripped by someone who didn't labour. And said parasites ordering the authors to pay for packaging and breakage of electronic copies of the works, as confirmed by courts in many jurisdictions.

            I think the fact that the author had the right to sell their copyright is legitimate. The fact that they felt they had a better chance of making money with a parasitic label is regrettable, but I

    • Actually,

      European Copyright law has traditionally viewed copyright as an extension of natural law. In particular, rather than the utilitarian tradition of anglo-saxon copyright, continental systems have viewed it as an extension of the moral rights of authorship.

      In that sense, it's more difficult to argue for principles such as fair use or mandatory licensing, attributes easily explained and rationalized within the anglo-saxon worldview.

      Of course, international treaties are essentially hybridizing all of th
  • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:18PM (#15413065)
    The Stationers had a goverment sponsered publishing monopoly starting
    in 1557 and lasting 137 years.

    Of course this led to suppression and censorship.

    So when the United States was founded, publishing monopolies were to be limited if not eleimitated entirely. The compromise was a 14 year copyright once renewable by 14 years by the author. The copyright purpose was explicitly to promote advancement.

    Fast forward to now. Corporations have been given the rights of persons. Government granted publishing monopolies (copyrights) have being extened to be 120 years. And the most control and profit from these monopolies goes not to the original authors, but the media companies (the modern Stationers).

    DRM attempts to go beyond any government limits, and establish complete control of publishing media.

  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    I can't wait to download and read the bill in Microsoft Windows Word format when it's ready...

  • by tktk ( 540564 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:30PM (#15413116)
    I'd like NTFS drivers for all my OS's.

    Oh, and gaming consoles. I could save money buying just buying one console but games from everyone.

    Ok, I went overboard, but it's fun to imagine.

  • An alphabet soup of microsoft protocols, and they go after AAC players.

    Good grief.....

    Make it "industry wide", idiots. That it ONLY applies to music players makes me thing MS is behind the scenes, somehow.
  • What about Urge! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @06:56PM (#15413257)
    It's funny how no one has mentioned Microsoft, MTV, and the Urge! brand fit into this.
    Talk about lockout.

    I understand France's position on this but people still have a choice.
    With Urge!, you only have 1 way and 1 OS to comply.

    And when did MTV only require IE now to view their video content?
  • by OzPhIsH ( 560038 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:05PM (#15413303) Journal
    First off, opening DRM so different music players can interoperate with these DRMed files has NOTHING to do with piracy. Having said that, I thought piracy, at least in this digital age, meant the illegal copying, trading, selling, "stealing," etc of digital information (bits). The concept of "State Sponsored" piracy just seems to be a huge oxymoron. If the state were actually saying that these are legal activities, wouldn't it cease to really be piracy? The fact that corporations are accusing governments of this kind of stuff makes my head spin. I thought the government was suppose to define what was illegal, and not corporations. Oh wait...
  • geez, the mainstream press wore this one out in mid-April, and slashdot burned their server disk bald by May as well.

    folks, the state department talked to France, and they backed down for a while. almost a month ago.

    move along, nothing to see here. come on, get moving. OK, what you hanging around for, next bus to gitmo? it loads in two minutes......
  • Trey Redicule! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @07:16PM (#15413356)
    I would always prefer in an ideal world for market forces to drive the way a company works. If a company's product or business model is not liked by the consumer, then it will not prosper. What France wants to do, is to single out and punish the most successful business in a given market, entirely because of its success and ubiquity. I wish Apple would open up their particular DRM methodology, but why the hell should they? They are selling iPod + iTunes as one product and most people continue to buy it anyway, even though there are other ways of achieving the same goal: to listen to online-purchased music on a digital player. I believe that is the major caveat for France: There is NO monopoly here because people can get the exact same music on any player they want (the easiest thing to do is to rip it off your CD). I feel that if the consumer truly feels cheated by Apple, then they should not be buying Apple products. It just seems like the French government wants custom offerings from the private sector without paying anything.
    • The law is not about Apple and the iPod but in general about letting a company use their power to avoid improving their products.

      The CD is dead, in few years you will not be able to rip your music.
      So the choice will be between letting go 70% of the music or choosing between iPod and Microsoft, And you will not choose based on quality or price but on vague branding perception (Apple) vs price (Microsoft based players) (and the price will be too high anyway because everybody will have to pay for the Microsoft
    • I would always prefer in an ideal world for market forces to drive the way a company works.

      but there is this thing called the EUCD which prevents other companies from working in ways they would like, and makes them beg apple for permission to interoperate when they should be free to indepdently engineer this interoperability.

      I'm all for a free market too, but that free market does not exist right now, let alone with the proposed new regulation.

      They should be scoffing at and refusing to implement the EUCD,
  • Just distribute all content in DRM-free Ogg Vorbis and be done with it.

  • I haven't read the law, but I'm hoping that it doesn't just apply to music. It should also (obviously) apply to video -- but even less obviously (and more important) manufacturers should be forced to describe the format that the users' own data is stored in so that you can't have vendor lock in for things like databases, text documents, vertical applications, etc.

    It's my data. I should be able to access it any way that I want.

  • At this moment, this story bears the tags dupe and oldnews.

    An Old Stories search for France Apple DRM turns up dozens of hits, but only this story seems to have to do with France, so I doubt it's a dupe. The oldnews tag doesn't make sense either, considering that the article linked to the story was published on May 26. This is not the first time I've seen tags like this, either.

    Maybe this is too meta, but I must wonder whether people are trying to game the tag system. Has anyone else noticed this kind of
  • What the Assemblée's version of the text forced DRM makers to give publicly is NOT "trade secret", just "informations needed for interoperability", with such precision : "technical informations and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of a protected work".

    These informations should be made public for a competition to be free. If it isn't, then it's use for blocking competition. That's because they didn't disclose such informations that Microsoft was found guilty by the Euro
  • We complain that MS keeps it's formats/protocols secret [ think: .doc format & smb formats ]. We complain because MS uses the secrets to maintain a monopoly position, keeping prices high, restricting user choice, etc.

    We accept that proprietary formats/protocols are bad, so why can't you see that the Apple keeping the iTunes protocols secret is much the same thing ? If the protocols were open then the efects of competition would be good for the consumer: lower prices, innovitive delivery. The only lose

  • Here is what we should be asking, and what I think the answers would be.

    Q: If the iPod model were applied to ebooks and enewspapers, would it feel right? No.
    Q: If all electronic publishing were to have 90% of the media market, and be done on the iPod model, would we be ok with that? No.
    Q: If it was Microsoft with 90% of the epublishing market, using the iPod model, would we like that? No.

    This is about freedom to (1) buy the content of my choice without being tied to any particular software for that pu

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