The background to this is that all the music which Apple sells online through its iTunes stores has Apple DRM software applied to it stopping the music from being played on any device other than an iPod. France proposed to pass a law recently which would have outlawed the use of DRM to restrict the playing of music to specific devices. As the market leader, this would have hit Apple hardest but other online music vendors were also in the firing line.
On hearing of the law, Apple commented that this was state sponsored piracy! There was talk that Apple would close down its iTunes store in France. Indeed, it may have been forced to as Apple has more than likely signed deals with the music publishers which only allows it to distribute music with DRM.
Now, however, it appears that the law has been considerably watered down by the French senate. According to Ars Technica:
Most of the consumer-friendly provisions in the legislation have since been removed or rewritten. To see how this worked, consider the following examples:
- Previously, “information needed for interoperability” covered “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a copy in an open standard of the copyrighted work, along with its legal information.” Now this has been changed to “technical documentation and programming interfaces needed to obtain a protected copy of a copyrighted work.” But a “protected” version of the work can’t be played back in a different player, which means interoperability won’t be attained with this clause.
- Previously, the only condition for receiving information needed for interoperability was to meet the cost of logistics of delivering the information. Now, anyone wanting to build a player will have to take a license on “reasonable and non discriminatory conditions, and an appropriate fee.” When using information attained under such a license, you will have to “respect the efficiency and integrity of the technical measure.”
- DRM publishers can demand the retraction of publication of the source-code for interoperable, independent software, if it can prove that the source-code is “harmful to the security and the efficiency of the DRM.”
Plus Ã§a change, eh?