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Softened French DRM Law Passes Senate reports that the French Senate has passed a modified version of its controversial copyright bill.

The original law, which was later gutted in committee required that Apple and other online music stores to have their songs be interoperable with all portable media players in France. The version passed today provides a loophole for Apple to keep their songs protected, but still retained some of its principle interoperability language.

Senators weakened the bill's blanket requirement that vendors give details of their DRM technology to those wishing to develop interoperable systems. Instead, they voted to create a new regulatory authority responsible for mediating requests for such details.

The authority will have the power to order companies to share details of their DRM, but companies will be able to refuse as long as their DRM systems only limit usage of digital music or movies in a way approved by the author or copyright holder.

Apple originally called the law "state-sponsored piracy." Apple has not yet officially responded to the latest text of the law.