French Lawmakers Push Forward with Online Copyright Bill [Update]

AP News reports that French lawmakers have provided preliminary approval on an online copyright bill on Tuesday that could force Apple and others to open their proprietary Digital Rights Management formats to others. The legislation still has to be debated and voted by the Senate. This could take place in May 2006.

Under the bill, companies would be required to reveal the secrets of hitherto-exclusive copy-protection technologies such as Apple's FairPlay format and the ATRAC3 code used by Sony's Connect store and Walkman players.

The purpose of the law would be to allow consumers to transport online music across services and players.

Anaylsts have speculated that Apple may withdraw iTunes from France rather than agree to opening up the iTunes service. Apple has refused to comment thus far.
Update: PeteyKohut notes that Apple responded to the French law and stated that "The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy. If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers."

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