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French Lawmakers approve Bill threatening Apple's iTunes, iPod

post #1 of 108
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French lawmakers voted Tuesday to approve an online copyright bill that would break open the exclusive formats behind Apple's market-leading iTunes music store and iPod players, reports the Associated Press

The draft law -- which also introduces new penalties for music pirates -- would force Apple Computer Inc., Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to share proprietary anti-copy technologies (DRM software) so that rivals can offer compatible services and players.

Lawmakers in the National Assembly, France's lower house, approved the bill 296-193. The legislation now has to be debated and voted by the Senate -- a process expected to begin in May, the AP said.

According to the same report, the new legislation would also introduce penalties ranging from euro38 to euro150 ($50 to $180) for those caught pirating music or movies at home and euro3,750 ($4,600) for hackers who disable copy-protection systems. Those caught distributing software for online piracy face fines of up to euro300,000 ($365,000) and jail terms.

Apple has made no comments on the decision, as of yet, and still reserves the right to pull out of France entirely, allowing it to proceed with its closed iTunes + iPod ecosystem.
post #2 of 108
This is crap!!!
post #3 of 108
Ditto.. F the French. They can get their scrawny butts up and go to a store to buy music.
post #4 of 108
Leave it to the French to pass anti-capitalism legislation. My prediction is that Apple pulls out of France to protect it's DRM. If the EU passes similar legislation then Apple might have to reconsider their business model.
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post #5 of 108
I find that's really a stupid thing.

I create a music player like iPod, I make it very nice and appealing, a lot of people love it, other don't. Great.

So I create a music store to feed it, a lot of people use it, other don't. Great.

Then, going beyond the normal and good sense that should guide a Company, I make a gift to all the competitors, breaking the solid link between my player and my music store. So that all the investment on research, my ideas and everything I put on my creation is - literally - burned.
Stupid.

I had a nice idea, I could realize it, so I should be punished for it.
Are they CRAZY????
Luca
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Luca
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post #6 of 108
eh , i cant really say if i agree or disagree with the decision
post #7 of 108
I'm surprised by the faces in here.

The fact that Apple can get away with a closed DRM scheme is highly annoying. Legislation such as this would help consumers, not hinder them. Except, if it only happens in France, Apple will probably just exit that market and nothing will change.
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post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
I'm surprised by the faces in here.

The fact that Apple can get away with a closed DRM scheme is highly annoying. Legislation such as this would help consumers, not hinder them. Except, if it only happens in France, Apple will probably just exit that market and nothing will change.

What Boccaccini said !
Apple's DRM IS NOT CLOSED !
Burn the music into CD and rip it to whatever piece of shit mp3 player you have ! Done !
Where's the problem ?
post #9 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
I'm surprised by the faces in here.

The fact that Apple can get away with a closed DRM scheme is highly annoying. Legislation such as this would help consumers, not hinder them. Except, if it only happens in France, Apple will probably just exit that market and nothing will change.

It (iTMS) is a service. You don't have to use it. I hope they pull out.
post #10 of 108
The real problem with all of this is not having to do with Apple using DRM to get an edge. Honestly their scheme is crackable and simple and yet they still use it. The problem is simply the labels require Apple to have a DRM scheme if they are to provide the music Apple wants to sell. Compliance with this would mean either no DRM which the labels would stop selling music to Apple and Apple's store would loose almost everything besides independent and smaller less lame labels (the few that are left) or they open up the format which makes it legal to remove the DRM because its no longer a technology that is being CRACKED and the DMCA wouldn't apply.

So to me France just doesn't get it. Then again France never really has ever got it...
post #11 of 108
Wow, everybody here seems to love DRM.

For the record, I hate it. DRM constantly gets in my way, even after I've legally paid for it. For example, I've bought about $500 worth of audiobooks at Audible.com. However, because of the DRM, I can't play them on my phone, only my iPod, and because it's limited to 3 computers, I constantly have problems playing it on the computer I'm on at that moment, even though I don't share them with anybody else.

DRM is bullshit. I'm happy to pay for things as long as the price is reasonable, but please no DRM!
post #12 of 108
By the way, the iTunes Music Store France is not a French company, it's based out of Luxembourg or some such place. As such, I do not see how it would be affected by this new law.
post #13 of 108
Not directly related to music, but I have both region 1 and region 2 DVD's. It's a PAIN to play them both on my computer, because it's limited to 5 "switches". They both cost about the same, so the reason I have both regions isn't cost, it's just that it happened that way, e.g. I was somewhere else and bought a DVD, or a friend gifted me a DVD, and so on.

It's a huge pain, and because of it, I wouldn't have any qualms about pirating movies.

It's like the record labels and movie publishers don't want my business. I'm trying to keep giving them my money, but they're making it harder and harder to do.
post #14 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by European guy
Burn the music into CD and rip it to whatever piece of shit mp3 player you have ! Done !
Where's the problem ?

The massive loss in sound quality?

Really, I'm amazed by the number of people jumping to the defence of DRM. DRM sucks. Apple do not need it to be successful, the quality of the iPod/iTunes combination will do that.

What if I want to play my iTunes purchased songs on an iPod and something else (like a Roku, Sonos or Sony Ericsson Mobile)? Ever thought of that? Why should I have to suffer quality degredation just because Apple refuse to licence Fairplay to anyone else?
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post #15 of 108
Hypocrites!

The French have never lifted a finger to force interoperability of computer software, gaming consoles, etc. that would help consumers. So, why the sudden assault on Apple (a perennial victim of Microsoft's lockout)?

It's not for the benefit of French consumers, it's to help out companies like FNAC and the French subsidiary of Virgin and other losers that failed to win the business of their countrymen.

FairPlay is the most consumer-friendly version of DRM, and DRM is the ONLY way the owners of content (not artists) will make the material they control available for legal download. FairPlay, therefore, is a necessary evil and Apple is to be commended for keeping it as consumer-friendly as it is.

At this point, Apple's only course is to shut down iTMS France on the day the law goes into effect and advise angry French consumers to take action against their legislators who caused the termination of service.
post #16 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by European guy
What Boccaccini said !
Apple's DRM IS NOT CLOSED !
Burn the music into CD and rip it to whatever piece of shit mp3 player you have ! Done !
Where's the problem ?

No problem.
Simply, the market is full of mp3 players.
You like iPod? Nice: use iTunes or buy CDs and import it to feed your iPod.
You don't like iPod? Buy another mp3 player, import CDs and buy on the music store related with that product.

I don't like that lawmakers has to intervene and interfere on a Company like Apple, calling "monopoly" a good idea which is appreciated by a lot of people.

Nothing more than this. It's a point of view.
Luca
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Luca
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post #17 of 108
Fair Play was a reasonable approach for bringing the music companies and consumers together in a legal & fair manner. It was conceived during a period when illegal downloads were rampant (they probably still are) and it actually made paying for your music fashionable again. The French also tend to forget that it has generated significant tax revenues all over the world.

It simply gets down to the fact that you will have Apple's DRM, MS's DRM, Sony's DRM (well, not Sony anymore) or you will not have the fantastic market you now have.
Ken
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Ken
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post #18 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Luca Boccaccini
No problem.
Simply, the market is full of mp3 players.
You like iPod? Nice: use iTunes or buy CDs and import it to feed your iPod.
You don't like iPod? Buy another mp3 player, import CDs and buy on the music store related with that product.

I don't like that lawmakers has to intervene and interfere on a Company like Apple, calling "monopoly" a good idea which is appreciated by a lot of people.

Nothing more than this. It's a point of view.

Why is everyone so focussed on the portable music players? You know, there are plenty of devices that do not compete with the iPod, but do play AACs (such as Roku soundbridge and Sonos music players I mentioned earlier). There are plenty of reasons why someone who owns an iPod would like to see the back of DRM, or at least, see Apple licence it to third parties.
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post #19 of 108
double post...
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post #20 of 108
This is annoying for Apple, but someone would rule this way sometime, somewhere.

The thing is, the market has decided it likes the iPod and iTMS.

Would the market have accepted the CD Player if only Philips made players and they never licensed it to anybody else? Probably not.

In the long run, forced licensing of Fairplay (and the other DRM schemes) could be beneficial.

If my iPod broke, and I bought a different player (and vice versa) it would want my purchased music to work. At the moment DRM is a software enforced difference, making equally capable hardware only work with certain media. It's like CD vs cassette vs vinyl, but where the physical stuff is exactly the same.

The best music store will win - the one with the most choices, the best layout, the easiest to use. However I can see Sony deciding to pull music from iTMS and Microsoft systems, because they're both a label, store and hardware maker - they can use that as leverage to promote their store to the detriment of the other companies. That will harm consumers greatly.
post #21 of 108
I agree with Luca. Goverment interferes too much already with free enterprise.
Apple has every right to put the constraints they have on their product.
I have every right to either buy my Apple products, or go but some other MP3 player.

Governments have the right to interfere when safety, etc is concerned, but hey, this is music, not heart valves or something.

Why should Apple be forced to do anything that they percieve to be detremental to their profits? They have an obligation to their stockholders to do what is best for the company. Period.

I like my ipods, (I've owned 4 of them so far), my itunes, and my mac computers.

The heck with France. I'd love to see Apple just pull out of France....then you'll hear France do what they do best.....whine. France needs itunes more then Apple needs France. It would also send a clear message to any other anti-business countries that may be thinking to do the same thing.

Macfandrive also makes some good points....many times there are ulterior motives to something like this.

Frank D.
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He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose....
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post #22 of 108
This laws will only make our songs more expensive, not only in French. Thanx for that!
post #23 of 108
I am sorry for your loss of iTMS, frencies...

They did it the wrong way. They should have made it legal to removed DRM and not forced sellers of music to support all players.
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post #24 of 108
I don't see why the music from all the stores be interoperable with all other players and vice versa. Records, CDs, Tapes, and 8Tracks, were all inoperable with their players from different manufacturers. The fact that I could purchese a music cd and play it in any compact disc player is great.

While I am not an expert (far from it really) on Monopolistic laws, I know that in America tie-in sales are considered against the law (this is what they claimed MS was doing with media player and IE) if you buy an iPod you can only use ITMS, and if you buy from iTMS it's only usable on an iPod. Seems pretty close to a tie-in sale to me.

This law is definately needed.
post #25 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Hood
Not directly related to music, but I have both region 1 and region 2 DVD's. It's a PAIN to play them both on my computer, because it's limited to 5 "switches". They both cost about the same, so the reason I have both regions isn't cost, it's just that it happened that way, e.g. I was somewhere else and bought a DVD, or a friend gifted me a DVD, and so on.

...

Now why hasn't France outlawed the whole region encoding scheme for DVDs? Doesn't it get in the way of being able to play my DVDs on any DVD player (once the 5 switches are up)?

What hypocrisy...
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post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
The massive loss in sound quality?

Really, I'm amazed by the number of people jumping to the defence of DRM. DRM sucks. Apple do not need it to be successful, the quality of the iPod/iTunes combination will do that.

What if I want to play my iTunes purchased songs on an iPod and something else (like a Roku, Sonos or Sony Ericsson Mobile)? Ever thought of that? Why should I have to suffer quality degredation just because Apple refuse to licence Fairplay to anyone else?

I think DRM is bad from the consumer point of view. My issue is that France is singling out just one instance but not all the others. Like why can't I play DRM-protected WMA music, including subscriptions, on my Mac? Computers are music players, too.

Anyway, here are your choices:
1. Don't buy songs from iTMS. Buy CDs or buy from eMusic.
2. Don't buy a Roku, Sonos or Sony Ericsson Mobile.

Either you like the iPod enough to use the Apple system (iPod, iTunes, iTMS, ROKR/SLVR, iPod accessories, Mac, PC, iPod Hi-Fi) or don't. If the market didn't like it, the iPod and iTMS would suffer and die. But the market has clearly indicated that they don't mind or at least that the alternatives aren't better.

I hate it when the government thinks consumers are stupid and have to be protected from themselves. Because more often than not, the government is stupid and the consumers have to protect themselves from the government.
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post #27 of 108
how the heck would getting out of the French market even work? I assume people have already purchased songs with the DRM embedded. I guess those sales would be "grandfathered" in. Now, what about purchasing songs in other countries, and then moving there? As far as I can tell, you still have to authorize your local copy of iTunes in order to play and burn the DRM'd music tracks to CD.

i don't like DRM in general, but it seemed like FairPlay was the one common-ground DRM that consumers and companies could agree upon that still allowed something RESEMBLING ownership. I'm just not understanding why this has become such a huge issue for France. Are they planning to invade a country and need something to distract the populace? (*ahem*sarcasm*cough*)
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post #28 of 108
Maybe this can push Apple away for a while and return to France with a new dedicated DRM that do not affect its actual coding. I dont know any numbers of the iTunes store in France but I know Apple wont invest on it if it wasnt a good deal.
I think that is wrong that a Goverment force any company to change the way a product works (only if avoid phisical harm to consumers its good, imo)
Ipod + iTunes store its a choice and its a complete structure and ecosystem that no authority has the right to intervene. It attempts against products that prevent piracy and encourage legal downloads and behavior.

IMO

post #29 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by faithfulFrank


The heck with France. I'd love to see Apple just pull out of France....then you'll hear France do what they do best.....whine. France needs itunes more then Apple needs France.

LOL, yeah the day Apple pulls out of France the country is going to pieces. Did the baaad frenchies step on the toes of a poooor american corporation? No need to cry, there is your lollypop

Seriously, I have yet to see a more boneheaded nationalist than you. As a consumer, I do not profit in any way from any DRM solution.

What if Apple stops selling iPods 10 years down the road like they stopped selling printers? Bang, all the music you "bought" is gone. What if the competition develops a better player? a smaller, cheaper, whatever? You are locked in if you bought at iTMS.

If the market is unable to solve this due to a cartel of large labels and a by far domineering company unwilling to license out its DRM, then it is only just that the legislature intervenes.
post #30 of 108
Well there are two things Apple can do.

1. Close the French iTMS

or

2. Host is offshore so that the French do not have jurisdiction.

If they go with option 2 then they won't need to charge VAT either
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post #31 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
I think DRM is bad from the consumer point of view. My issue is that France is singling out just one instance but not all the others. Like why can't I play DRM-protected WMA music, including subscriptions, on my Mac?

You got that wrong. The french law covers all DRM-crippled content. So, yes, MS will have to open up too if it is enacted.
post #32 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by scavanger
...

While I am not an expert (far from it really) on Monopolistic laws, I know that in America tie-in sales are considered against the law (this is what they claimed MS was doing with media player and IE) if you buy an iPod you can only use ITMS, and if you buy from iTMS it's only usable on an iPod. Seems pretty close to a tie-in sale to me.

This law is definately needed.

Your definition of tie-in sales is wrong. MS, which had a monopoly in OS, refused to sell its OS to its hardware partners unless they only included IE and did not include Netscape on the desktop.

Apple does not have a monopoly in music sales (CDs are part of music sales) or music players (remember computers are music players). They have no hardware partners. They are not making unfair conditions on any other mfr.

Apple is selling a music system consisting of an iPod, a computer running iTunes, and optionally, iTMS. Your sources of music are CDs, piracy, anyplace selling unprotected music (MP3, AAC, WMA), or iTMS.
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post #33 of 108
This actually good !

There is a 11th Commandment that reads

" Thou shall do everything opposite the French do ! "

So, this is good news. Thank God for the French to lead us when in doubt..
post #34 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
I think DRM is bad from the consumer point of view. My issue is that France is singling out just one instance but not all the others. Like why can't I play DRM-protected WMA music, including subscriptions, on my Mac? Computers are music players, too.

They have not singled out iTunes. The law (which is flawed in many other ways, I'm arguing against DRM here, not pro the entire French bill) is seeking inter-operability of all DRM schemes, in that Microsoft, Apple etc. will have to licence their DRM scheme to anybody that wants it. In this way, someone (Flip4Mac, perhaps) could easily write software to play DRM WMA on a Mac.

Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
1. Don't buy songs from iTMS. Buy CDs or buy from eMusic.

You have got to be kidding me. The whole point of the music store is that it provides things that those "alternatives" do not. Such as the ability to purchase only one track from an album (vs. CD), and purchase music from a much wider selection (vs. eMusic).

Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
2. Don't buy a Roku, Sonos

I really don't get why this is so hard for you to grasp. The Roku and Sonos are not iPod alternatives. They have completely different usage, they are not built to perform the same task. There is nothing in the Apple ecosystem that does what they do. It is flat-out dumb that if I've decided that iTunes+iPod is the best portable music solution, that I then can't use the files purchased from iTunes on devices that Apple doesn't even make competitors for.
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post #35 of 108
FUD, FUD, FUD and more FUD

"the law has yet to be debated and approved by the Senate--a process that would not begin until at least May"

Apple will offer no comment until there is reason to act.

French congressional action will wither and not stand the scrutiny of legal review.
post #36 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by mark2005
1. Don't buy songs from iTMS. Buy CDs or buy from eMusic.

Except that in most of Europe (I think, at least where I live) CDs are twice as expensive than in the US
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post #37 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Addison
Well there are two things Apple can do.

1. Close the French iTMS

or

2. Host is offshore so that the French do not have jurisdiction.

If they go with option 2 then they won't need to charge VAT either

All European iTMS stores are, and have been from the start, operated in Luxembourg. Not in France.

So that argument is moot.
post #38 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by SMQT
Except that in most of Europe (I think, at least where I live) CDs are twice as expensive than in the US

www.gemm.com
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post #39 of 108
I wasn't going to, but I've decided to throw the solution for all of this out there:

http://www.allofmp3.com

While I have purchased a number of songs from the iTunes music store, because it's just so damn convenient, because of problems with the DRM I have run into, I am boycotting iTMS until they remove the DRM. I want to give them money, but if they don't want it...
post #40 of 108
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
www.gemm.com

Thanks for the link.
But still, that doesn't really change that regular CD stores are way more expensive...

On a related note... I was already annoyed by the fact that iTMS doesn't sell their music as AIFF, and let's you decide how to rip the tunes.
When iPods no longer exist your music is gone... and when a better compression format is invented, your old MP3s, MP4s whatevers will be of "lesser" quality.

At first MP3 compression was a benefit. But from something that could bring the industry further, it's now being used as restrictive and a hindre to innovation.
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