Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

French Parliament Fights iPod and iTunes

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the to-the-pain dept.

323

f00lforb00l writes "According to an article in New York Times, the French parliament is considering legislation which would require that the iPod also be able to use music from services other than the iTunes Store." From the article: "The outcome of the debate, which began as an update to French copyright law, is far from clear. But taken to one logical conclusion, amendments to the copyright bill could lead Apple, the market leader, to leave the French music business, said Jonathan Arber, a research analyst in London at the technology consultancy Ovum. 'My gut feeling is that Apple will simply pull out of France if these amendments get through,' Mr. Arber said. 'Weighed against breaking their business model for all markets, it doesn't make sense for Apple to continue operating with the iPod and iTunes in France.'" Update: 03/17 15:46 GMT by Z : A previous story covering this topic may also be of interest to you. Sorry, folks.

cancel ×

323 comments

Look out! (-1, Offtopic)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941779)

Incoming "Ha-ha-the-French-will-just-give-up :V" comments!

Re:Look out! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941905)

Those stupid "cheese eatin', surrender monkeys"....

Re:Look out! (-1, Offtopic)

pixelone (912427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941918)

hmm...are you referring to the Iraq war:-) Yes the french didn't follow the sheeps behind their evil&idiot leader. Not that the sheeps are stupid, i genuinely believe too much trust was given to their leader.

Re:Look out! (0, Offtopic)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942023)

I love you.

Messieurs... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941780)

Messieurs, je ne vous félicite pas!

Gee, that could be expensive.. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941782)

Pulling out of the French market could cost Apple two, maybe two and a half percent of their iTMS revenues.

-jcr

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941835)

Well, I'm not really up on this sort of thing, but could not France then take its case to the EU, and petition the EU to bring a similar case?

Pulling out of France might not be too painful, but pulling out of the EU altogether? They're bound to feel that...

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941884)

In they'd have to pull out of Europe, they might very well create two distinct and incompatible (new file format) versions of the iPod for both market spaces.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941954)

Well, I'm not really up on this sort of thing, but could not France then take its case to the EU, and petition the EU to bring a similar case?

No. Apple is not (as far as anyone has determined) breaking any laws. They won their case in France and the EU has no reason to think they are breaking the law. This is not about Apple breaking the law, this is about France passing a new law to specifically force Apple to do something they desire. It's like a town passing a law that says Bob has to stop wearing that stupid hat. If Bob stops coming to town the townfolk can't go the the county or state and ask them to go after Bob for wearing it elsewhere, they need to get the larger jurisdiction to also pass a similar law.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (2, Insightful)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941994)

The legal term is bill of attainder [techlawjournal.com] .
This is why the Maryland legislature laws against Wal Mart will ultimately fail.

Incidentally, doesn't the French legislature have more pressing issues like say getting rid of their ill-conceived 'right to work' laws?

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941980)

Pulling out of the French market could cost Apple two, maybe two and a half percent of their iTMS revenues.

But what about if it effects Apple's other french business? [apple.com]

(I note on that page that they're claiming the intel macs are four times faster still. I thought that had been utterly debunked by now)

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (4, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941983)

Call me a jackass, but if Apple pulls out of France, can't people still easily get iPods and iTunes? I mean, with the EU, goods move fairly freely (I think) across borders, and people move between countries often. Traveling from France to a neighboring nation isn't like trying to get the 2000 miles from the tip of Florida to Canada. So won't the French, who want an iPod, just roll through the Chunnel, and buy one?
And iTunes works with all music formats except the MS, so loading the things would be fairly easy....

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942043)

its reall iTunes Music store DRM files+iPod, what if it was just iPod, no iTunes Music store

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942069)

Yes, but that's not the issue. Apple will pull out of France because it doesn't want to agree to their terms. Apple, I'm sure, still wants to sell its products; even to the French.

So the French who want iPods and iTunes can still get one easily, but Apple wouldn't have to agree to any French government terms.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942133)

I don't think state imposed barriers are a problem for french users to use iTunes shops in other coutnries, it is Apple that bars access outside your country. As for them pulling the iPod out of France, I doubt it, they will fight it in the courts and take it to European level to get the EU institutions to take a stand, this may in the end of course backfire on them but it is a road they will have to take.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942105)

So won't the French, who want an iPod, just roll through the Chunnel, and buy one?

Or more likely order over the internet. But they would lose out on the sales from local shops, and some people do prefer to buy this way.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941985)

Well, iTunes could easily be pulled out of France without any significant effect. EU law will allow people to buy music from any other EU nation. Losing a portion of their revenue will be a more significant matter though. This will give their competitors a handhold on the market, and France makes up quite a substantial portion of the EU market.

Re:Gee, that could be expensive.. (2, Insightful)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942010)

Pulling out of the French market could cost Apple two, maybe two and a half percent of their iTMS revenues.

It seems like France is the perfect market. They have 20% unemployment for people under 30... what else are they kids gonna do? Riot?

Vive la difference! (-1, Troll)

igb (28052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941788)

For those not attuned to the cultural flow, this is just the French getting upset about Le Rock and Roll, and wanting a music service that is more Johnny Hallyday focussed. Apple's crime is not in being a monopoly, it's in being American.

ian

Re:Vive la difference! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941859)

Mr Halliday isn't French, he's Belgian. Besides that, he moved to Belgium just a few weeks ago to dotch french tax laws.

Besides that, you don't have a clue about European laws. In Europe it is illegal to pick a few items, tie them together in an artificial wrap and sell then an a single entity. And basically, that's what Apple is doing: it couples it iPod too close to one of it's own businesses. And that's _illegal_ in Europe (the dutch word is "koppelverkoop", dunno the proper word in English, sorry).

Why did you try to make this into a political issue ?

Re:Vive la difference! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941926)

In Europe it is illegal to pick a few items, tie them together in an artificial wrap and sell then an a single entity.

In a word, horseshit. There is nothing in EU law that makes such bundling illegal, unless you are also a monopoly. The fact that non-iPod players and music services exist proves that Apple are not a monopoly. They're not even a de-facto monopoly; not by a long shot.

This is political; the French don't like the fact that they can not impose their "cultural preservation" laws on iTunes and iPod owners; no doubt they feel that not enough "French" music is being sold by Apple, and if there is one thing the French can't stand it's the thought that people may not be quite French enough.

You'd think they'd have more important things to worry about right now. Like violent student riots. Again.

Re:Vive la difference! (2, Insightful)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941937)

Actually this bill looks like it intended to water down DRM and lessen piracy laws. The evils of DRM and overzelous anti-piracy laws are weekly topics on Slahdot. It looks like the French are actually doing something about it instead of complaing on an Internet site. It unfortunately looks like Apple has been singled out as they are a market leader. I say unfortunate because Apples DRM is relatively light compared to WMA. Although the bill does look a little vague as described by the article. However, something may have been lost in translation.

Move your French hating along Ian. By the way that name sounds pretty English.... Still haven't gotten over the French occupation of England have we?

Re:Vive la difference! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942033)

The French never occupied England. The Normans did, and went on fighting with the French for centuries, they were eventually kicked out of France completely, but it took a LONG time for the French to do it. Thus the Normans became English, quite ironic.

Re:Vive la difference! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942056)

Still haven't gotten over the French occupation of England have we?
Nah! I think it's the hammering they took last sunday in Rugby. France 31 - 6 England

Let's just get this out of the way... (2, Funny)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941789)

That was quick. [slashdot.org]

Re:Let's just get this out of the way... (2, Funny)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941908)

No no no, this isn't a dupe... this is a follow-up! The new info is that whoever wrote the article figures that Apple might pull out of the French music biz altogether!

Yeah, it's not much, but we gotta keep the stories coming around here you know!

Thanks for making it easy... (1)

sh00z (206503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941911)

...and flagging the dupe. Here's a dupe of my previous comment [slashdot.org] , listing some of the competing music stores that are currently 100% iPod compatible. This is a non-issue, unless somehow this law would force Microsoft into licensing PlaysForSure to Apple (for iPod, and I would assume, MacOS).

um iPod already does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941795)

Ever heard of a format called MP3??

Re:um iPod already does (5, Interesting)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941856)

EXACTLY - if sellers were willing to actually TRUST the people who purchase their music, instead of forcing DRM down their throats, this wouldn't be an issue. Apple's DRM is slightly less obtrusive than others out there, but DRM sucks, period. ANYONE could sell mp3s or non-drm'ed AAC files and they would play on the ipod just fine. The only music I've EVER purchased in digital format was from the band Manowar, which sells un-drm'ed mp3s directly from its website.

Before you make up your mind... (2, Insightful)

Aminion (896851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941797)

... ask yourself: what would my opinion be if the article was about, say, Microsoft?

Re:Before you make up your mind... (1)

kukickface (675936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941821)

For me, the same. I think the EU's handling of Microsoft is both unfair and unrealistic. France's misconceptions about the iPod/iTMS are in the same boat.

Re:Before you make up your mind... (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941986)

... ask yourself: what would my opinion be if the article was about, say, Microsoft?

I'd have a different opinion, but then it would also be a different situation. What does this have to do with anything?

Re:Before you make up your mind... (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942126)

Are we uhh, supposed to feel bad for Apple or something?

But I asked myself, and I can't figure it out, what would your opinion be if the article was about Microsoft?

Nice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941800)

Nice to see that there's at least one country in the world that appears to have a clue what the word "freedom" means.

Apple will pull out of France (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941803)

and then the French will just have to build their own iPod and iTunes, with Black Jack and Hoockers. In fact forget the Black Jack.

Re:Apple will pull out of France (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941815)

French will just have to build their own iPod and iTunes

Named "LePod" et "LesTunes"? ;-)

Re:Apple will pull out of France (2, Funny)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941944)

Named "LePod" et "LesTunes"? ;-)
--

And if they are imported into the US, we can rename them "FreedomPods" and "FreedomTunes".

Help me fellow Slashdotters! (0, Troll)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941812)

I'm not sure what to think. Please help me out with a little groupthink. Do I hate Apple here because of anti-competitive business practices with their non-open hardware, or do I hate the French because they are enemies of Apple? Or do I love the French because they hate George Bush?

Re:Help me fellow Slashdotters! (1)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941873)

Apple are not being anti-competitive, the consumer is free to choose which ever MP3 player they like, and a accompanying music store. If the iTMS was the only place you could buy music, thus forcing you to buy an iPod if you wanted to listen to music, THAT would be anti-competitive.

Creative/whatever users are free to buy music for their devices from other stores if they like.

Re:Help me fellow Slashdotters! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941955)

You hate yourself for being a republican?

Re:Help me fellow Slashdotters! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942091)

Well, John Kerry wants America to be more like the French so, choose your side wisely.

Personally, after seeing something like this I hope America NEVER becomes like the French. Want to be French-like? Just wave a white flag and turn your nose up.

Re:Help me fellow Slashdotters! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942102)

I would praise Apple for their recent decisions on hardware. The took a standard x86 bocks, removed the legacy BS which should have been done many years ago, and then slapped on a pretty decent OS. What really irks me is all of these people FORCING companies to change THEIR product offering to fit in with their own desires. What right do they have telling a company that they have to change their product? If you don't like it, don't use it, plain and simple. The french need to pull the stick out of their arse, along with many other countries (hey Europe, I may dislike MS, but these comments apply to you also) I have never had an issue using a 3rd party app with my iPod or Windows. Let these companies put out software how THEY want to put it out, if you don't like it.....Run Linux! and use a cheap, poorly designed MP3 player with half-arsed software.

It should be noted here.... (4, Interesting)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941828)

It should be noted here that Apple have allready pulled the ipod from france [com.com] due to decibel limits.

However, Apple almost immediately surrendered, [pcmag.com] limiting the decibels with a firmware update so they could get the French market back again.

Re:It should be noted here.... (0, Flamebait)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941882)

Wait, let me get this straight...

someone... surrendered... to the FRENCH?

I suddenly feel like selling all my Apple hardware... and taking a shower.

Re:It should be noted here.... (1)

nomi42 (879034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942110)

If you read thh article, dated 2002, they just stoped shipment to France for 15 days in 2002, just the time to put up a fix that would keep the dB below 100 dB as required by french law.

Actually, the iPod would be *allowed*... (2, Informative)

aaribaud (585182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941831)

... to access other formats, but not forced to. Anyway, this is one interpretation of a law still to be discussed by the senators, and even right now, the text isn't that clear.

So THAT's why the french are renowned lovers... (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941833)

...they screw themselves.

Re:So THAT's why the french are renowned lovers... (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941936)

...they screw themselves.

While listening to to their wax cylinders. [wikipedia.org]

Screw DRMs (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942064)

I don't understand the bashing, this law has a lot of criticable flaws but its only force is that it forces DRMs (all DRMs, Apple is not specifically targeted) to be interoperable, what part of it don't you like ?

It could have been a DMCA a la Francaise, we mobilized to prevent it. We don't want to screw Apple but we don't want them to screw anyone "cracking" their DRMs

Interesting ... (5, Insightful)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941836)

Except that the iPod can already play files purchased from other music stores.

Any music store that sells in DRM-free mp3 format is completely compatible with the iPod.

What you mean that the stores won't sell in anything other than locked microsoft formats? How is that Apple's fault?

its not any different than (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941935)

any other player that doesn't play AAC's, DRM'd or not.

Re:Interesting ... (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941982)

Except that the iPod can already play files purchased from other music stores.
Any music store that sells in DRM-free mp3 format is completely compatible with the iPod.
What you mean that the stores won't sell in anything other than locked microsoft formats? How is that Apple's fault?
Good point.
Somebody needs to show the French government those silver disks that can be ripped into music files and transferred to the iPod. What are those things called? Oh yeah, CDs.

Re:Interesting ... (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942066)

using a marker on those shiny discs to disable the dumbass DRM is illegal under this new law
you get a 3750 EUR fine

Re:Interesting ... (2, Insightful)

tjuricek (514513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942036)

I had the exact same thought: why are they forcing Apple to support someone else's proprietary DRM scheme? The article leads me to believe this is just a "you should support anything anybody builds" sort of statement. (This may be a skewed interpretation of the author.)

My thought is that it should support open formats - say ogg. (Maybe they're trying to force Apple to license their format with others.) But trying to force someone else's proprietary format - even if it's "popular" with other businesses - is just going to result in Microsoft getting a big boost in market share. It seems like lawmakers are just concerned about ease of use, blind to principles of the electronic market.

Re:Interesting ... (1)

porneL (674499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942054)

and iTunes won't sell anything other than locked Apple formats. Who's fault is that?

Re:Interesting ... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942070)

Exactly... and you can iTunes with most formats, too. I believe forcing Apple to license MS technology would be a crock, and only "fair" if it required MS based players to license Apple's technology.

retarded? (3, Informative)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941841)

the ipod can use all kinds of music from all kinds of places other than the itunes music store. it just can't play other store's DRM. talk to the other stores and have them release their music as non-DRM mp3 or AAC and the ipod will play it just fine.

What exactly are they trying to do? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941846)

Does anyone understand exactly what the French Parliament is trying to do here? Are they trying to force Apple to license WMA from Microsoft so that iPods can play that stuff too? Are they trying to force Apple to release an open API for transferring files (in whatever format) on to the iPod? Are they trying to force Apple to let other people sell AAC/FairPlay media for the iPod?

I have no idea whether or not this is potentially good or bad since I have no clue what it's trying to do -- or what it would actually do.

Re:What exactly are they trying to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942104)

Welcome to French law...

MP3s? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941861)

Isn't the issue more that other providers require their own brand of DRM via WMV? The providers could solve this, but are unwilling to offer mere unrestricted mp3's. Remember, the iPod came out long before iTunes and people still used and loved it.

Frenchies (-1, Troll)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941862)

Frenchies are trying to kill apple and make MS a monopoly here. By bringing these amendments MS WMA format will become ubiquitous. MS may be happy with this development

Overregulation reduces customer choice (-1, Troll)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941865)

This example shows well what could happen when government clumsily interferes with a free market. The number of products and services are reduced. Consumers lose. France has yet to learn that lesson. Another recent example is the grief that the French president is getting by trying to introduce at will employment for folks under 26. If he fails, the net result will be fewer jobs and higher unemployment.

Re:Overregulation reduces customer choice (1, Informative)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941946)

Please stop misusing the term "free market". A market free of government restriction is not a free market. A free market is a market in its purest mathematical sense - free of any constraints other than having the most basic properties of a market. Such a thing is a theoretical construct that can be used in modeling of certain situations - but is not the same thing as a real market, which will always have additional constraints upon it (such as tgransport costs, retooling costs, the realities of human behaviour, limitted knowledge, monopolies, limitted resources, limitted communication, etc ...).

Anti-competative law is designed to allow a government to intervene in a realworld market to make it behave more like a free-market.

In this case the government in question may not know what it's doing - but this has nothing to do with "interfering with a free-market".

Troll? (1, Offtopic)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942017)

Troll?

I'm a mathematician defining a mathematical term that gets frequently misused by people with an idealogical axe to grind :)

I may be flamebait - but everything I've said is true ... not even matters of opinion actual objective statements of what a word means.

Re:Overregulation reduces customer choice (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942100)

"Anti-competative law is designed to allow a government to intervene in a realworld market to make it behave more like a free-market."

Very good point. I've always said that a free market is a regulated market.

Why doesn't apple just get rid of DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941867)

Apple's shooting themselves in the foot by promoting DRMed products. They could just get rid of DRM and make everybody happy.

Re:Why doesn't apple just get rid of DRM (1)

xenoandroid (696729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942108)

Except for the very music companies that Apple needs permission from to sell the music.

Bad move for politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941875)

I know I wouldn't vote for anyone who drove iPods out of my country.

Is there nothing more pressing happening in France (0)

btaratoot (937576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941877)

Not that we can talk after all the steroids in baseball discussions.

when birds have radios in their butts... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941879)

there'll be music in the air at all times.

meanwhile... lookout bullow.

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I am using my iPod without iTunes services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14941880)

I am using my iPod without using the iTunes services.

ummmmmm (2, Insightful)

sk8dork (842313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941889)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not iTunes or iPod that are refusing to 'use' music from other music services, it's the other music services themselves that protect their music files and thus make them incompatible. One can import any regular old music file into iTunes and onto an iPod, i.e. from allofmp3 or ripped straight from CD. Perhaps iTunes could collaborate with the other music services to jointly enable their players to play the other encrypted files, but this certainly would have to be a joint effort.

Right?

Re:ummmmmm (1)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942027)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not iTunes or iPod that are refusing to 'use' music from other music services, it's the other music services themselves that protect their music files and thus make them incompatible.

Okay, you're wrong.

Apple refuses to license the FairPlay DRM to anyone else (i.e. -- Microsoft or Real) and Apple themselves doesn't sell non-DRM protected MP3s.

Apple is the #1 player in portable music device market and the #1 player in online music sales. The iPod is the #1 selling device. By not licensing the DRM and NOT WORKING WITH OTHER DRM, they are doing their damnest to lock up the market.

(Many) Musicians want to go with Apple because they are #1, so they get the most exposure. (Many) Musicians ALSO refuse to release non-DRM music, therefore if they want to work on iPod (the #1 player) they have no choice but to go with Apple.

Now, I applaud Apple for their success. They did all this NOT by competing unfairly, but by producing a better product and marketing it better than anyone else. They are, by no stretch of the imagination, a monopoly, so I see nothing wrong with what they are doing.

But the "Oh, iPods play unencumbered MP3s so what are you all screaming about" argument is pure fanboy bullshit.

  -Charles

iTunes vs WMA (1)

Peter Bonte (919202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941903)

All songs bought in the ITMS can be burned to a normal music CD, thats not the case with the other music stores. Its not Apple that has to be afraid, its all the rest.

Vive le differance! (1, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941906)

So France is against proprietary technology? I personally hate the iPod, iTunes, and ITMS, but I don't think they should be banished outright. People have a choose what to purchase and if they like being locked into an overpriced, overhyped, fragile product with expensive proprietary replacement parts then they have every right.

Re:Vive le differance! (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942112)

People have a choose (sic) what to purchase and if they like being locked into an overpriced, overhyped, fragile product with expensive proprietary replacement parts then they have every right.

Most people don't see it as being locked in. They see it as actually getting what they wanted out of the device.

I've known several people who just couldn't figure out how to muddle through ripping their own CDs, or fighting wth an MP3 player that they just couldn't figure out, and which either had no control software, or crappy stuff. They weren't interested in figuring out how to download through peer-to-peer, and weren't interested in pirating music.

For those people, what they're paying for is a working user experience that does what they want. They're not interested in the geek perspective of "I could buy an MP3 player cheaper, and I'll be l337 cuz I got no DRM". They couldn't care less about ogg-freaking-vorbis and how it's unencumbered. They don't want to know about the formats of music, the bitrates, or the technical issues about which lossy compression is theoretically better. They want to hear music and not arm-wrestle with technology to get it.

You don't like the iPod? Fine, don't buy one. What Apple does is an exceptional job at is giving people a good user experience that you generally don't have to muddle with. You may pay a premium for it compared to a DIY solution, but if you can't DIY, the cost is worth it. Because saving $50 to find out you can't make it work, is not actually a savings. I knew several people who returned other players after Christmas to get an iPod variant.

I play my iPod shuffle 4-6 hours a day at work. I find the iTunes software to be amazingly easy and uncluttered. Sure, I rip my own MP3s from CD, so I'm not stuck with their proprietary format. I'm thinking of buying a larger iPod, or a second shuffle to keep more data with me music with me for longer trips.

The fact of the matter is, for those people who find it provides real value, the iPod family and iTunes are a good set of products. That's why they're so successful. They're not successful because they're hyped -- they're hyped because they're successful and people want them.

For sale... (2, Funny)

BeProf (597697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941941)

One French iPod. Never played. Dropped once.

not only apple... (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941961)

note that this is valid for any type of DRM, be it from apple, MS, Real, or anyone else

Never thought I'd say this... (1)

MrDoh1 (906953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941962)

Never thought I'd sat this, but it looks like the French may get it right.

NYT gets it exactly backwards. (2, Interesting)

jthill (303417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941970)

Silicon.com [silicon.com] , at least, have it right: this is about forcing Apple to at least license the AAC format, and it looks like they're toying with breaking DRM entirely.

Good. Apple have been getting passes from the technical community on a few things. They've earned them. But they have no competition as targets for this kind of legislation, and someone had to fire the first shot. Good for the French.

Thank you (2, Insightful)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942101)

For the life of me I couldn't understand why the summary was saying that the French wanted to force Apple to make the Ipod WMA compatible.

Now about forcing Apple to license its DRM. Right or wrong aside I'm very much for that. Other companies have indicted that they are indeed interested in licesing Apple's DRM but Apple doesn't want to do that. If Itunes becomes the defacto distribution site for online TV and movies, which is actually very close to happening, then Apple should be forced to let other hardware makers participate. Again I could care less if this is "right", I just want consumers to benefit for once.

they are smart like laundry. (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941971)

is it just me or is it obvious that you can write other software to interface with the iPod? seriously, different software, different store? they might as well try forcing to go open source. oh wait, they are trying that too. :P

Is this logical? (3, Insightful)

EMIce (30092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941979)

So let me get this straight. They want to dissallow breaking DRM via DMCA like measures [arstechnica.com] , but force companies to open up their DRM for anyone to use. It seems like some sort of bad compromise is being attemped between having DMCA like measures and making sure there is healthy competition.

The real question is why have DMCA like measures in the first place? They don't stop content from being pirated anyhow, and just assist the industry in nickel and diming us.

This sounds like a government solution to a government created problem, as Apple hasn't done anything to my knowledge to abuse their position. If the government is protecting DRM from being reverse engineered, they are the ones screwing up fair use and turning the market lopsided, and Apple is perfectly within their rights under the law.

Re:Is this logical? (2, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942052)

note: I'm from france, and I am following the issue

well, let's put it this way.

The DMCA (and it's EU corrolary called EUCD - European Union Copyright Directive) both stem from the same WIPO treaty.
The Directive offers ample possibilities so as to state anything in state law. It's each government choice as to what will be in the local law.

The french government has been lobbied by Vivendi Universal (and friends) and decided to select the worst possible things in the law-to-be

Here's what the head of the culture department said

1) peer 2 peer software have to have a device that will detect if the shared file(s) are currently protected under copyright law
2) said software will then report the people doing the deeds to the cops

the law also states
3) the peer 2 peer software may be proprietary or free
4) if the peer 2 peer software is designed purposely for illegal transfers, the editor may get 3 years in jail and fined 300000 eur
5) it is illegal to remove the technical protection measures that would do 1 and 2

(plus more of the same)

Re:Is this logical? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942114)

How do you say MP3 in french?

Re:Is this logical? (1)

Gobelet (892738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942138)

This project was largely changed. Now we get fined ~40 dollars if we download songs, ~180 if we redistribute it. Nothing more.

Still, I think it's a good thing, although killing DRM is not the way. Opening it is. I mean, if you open it up, by publicating specifications, the others can use it too. Like Real did with Rhapsody.

Oh and, I'm french.

sounds good to me (0)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941984)

While we're at it, how about a law forcing Sony to make the PS3 play HD-DVD discs? And VHS tapes, too.

the french fighting? (-1, Troll)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941991)

all apple has to do is speak german to them. they'll surrender in a moment!! then they'll work with apple to impose iPods on everyone, round up anyone who doesn't use one, and turn them over to apple. and, they'll make a cozy place for apple reps to visit. of course a few will resist, and they'll far more credit than they deserve.

not necessarily apples problems (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941993)

First, let me say that I believe Apple should license the DRM to other online stores. I think this will help with the PR on the growing realization of the Apple monopoly, and won't hurt Apple. Other than Walmart, no one one else has the volume and pull to get the kind of deals Apple is getting. The DRM license fee, and branding, will help protect Apple from Wal*Mart.

That said, this current issue is not an issue with Apple. The iPods only major restriction that if the file contain DRM, then the only DRM that will work is Apple's. The other major restriction, unfortunately, is the OGG files must be converted to supported format, but I doubt France is taking umbrage with this.

So the real problem is DRM, and the people responsible for the DRM are the record labels. They have pushed this solution, and they have help create these near monopolies. Ultimately it is up to them to relinquish some control. The consensus outline of the solution appear to be well known. A royalty tax on a variety of products and services. The royalties will be paid based on tracking data, just like radio. It will be harder, but with good watermarks and random sampling of the P2P networks, it would work. The source will still be CDs and online, with CDs often the better choice in terms of value.

Apple could play a role in this, but building such tracking into itunes. The labels could be more happy if Apple tacked another dime on the price and submitted to the central royalty bank. The only downside is that this might open the market up to independents.

Not just iPod (2, Informative)

dafz1 (604262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941999)

For those who didn't RTFA, this doesn't just affect the iPod and iTunes. This applies to all devices capable of playing content available from online sources, including Sony's Walkman mp3 players.

This is typical government sticking it's nose somewhere it doesn't belong. If Apple wants to lock their iTMS content to iPods, let them do it. If a consumer wants to crack Fairplay, using tools that would appear to be legal in France, once this legislation passes, let them do it. Or, at least, mp3 player companies should have to create, and provide, tools to convert files to a compatible format. Again, this only applies to France, such tools would be illegal in other countries.

What this law says (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942011)

1) Interoperability must be assured by the providers and reverse-engineering toward this goal is authorized. (Article 7.)

2) A publisher/editor can force an artist to accept that his/her creation will be published with DRMs. ("vivendi" amendment, actually, four different amendments)

As you see, we have fucked up politicians here too. I would say we have slightly less corruption from the lobbies but far more incompetence.

iPod w/o ITMS ... say it's not so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942028)

I have over 5000 tracks on my iPod, and haven't used the the iTunes Music Store once. So exactly what is this legistlation trying to accomplish?

Perhaps TFA has some interesting and accurate information, but the wildley inaccurate /. teaser has already ensured I won't read it.

Re:iPod w/o ITMS ... say it's not so (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942094)

IIRC, its the other way around that they are getting at.

iTunes ->

And not just iTunes, but:

  ->

It's an admirable goal, actually, and probably a good thing in terms of preserving a fluid market.

Stupid (1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942044)

Just don't make it illegal to modify the iPod (or any other device) to allow it to play "other" media. End of story.

Governments seem to half-get things all the time :)

"Forcing people to act a certain way is bad.. "
"Agreed"
"So we should force different people to act a different way!"

Given a thousand cheese-eating surrender monkeys at a thousand typewriters.. eventually they'll come up with a sensible legal system? I suppose somebody thought it was a worthy experiment.

This law has not passed yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942047)

This is not a sure thing. The debate is about proposed amendments to article 7 of the DADVSI (EUCD) law, which would, if passed, provide exemptions which would allow consumers to bypass DRM schemes for fair use purposes.

The music industry is fighting this hard. Apparently the debate is still ongoing. From eucd.info [eucd.info] :
Ce matin, M. Richard Cazenave (UMP), député de l'Isère a demandé une seconde délibération sur l'article 7. Celui-ci est une des têtes de l'hydre que constitue le projet de loi DADVSI. Il définit ce qu'est une mesure technique, ce que ne peut pas faire une mesure technique, les obligations que la loi pose aux fournisseurs de mesures techniques en matière de fourniture des informations essentielles à l'interopérabilité, ainsi que les conditions dans lesquelles il est possible de neutraliser une mesure technique à des fins d'interopérabilité.

"This morning, M. Richard Cazenave (UMP), demanded a second deliberation of article 7...This section defines technical protection measures, obligations for interoperability, and under what conditions it is permissible to bypass such technical measures."

Oy (2, Insightful)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942050)

I really hate just about all this supposed consumer-protection regulation. Make a product. If it does what I want, and it's a reasonable price, I'll buy it. If it employs, say, a DRM scheme that's incompatible with how I choose to use it, I won't. If I'm the only one who wants what I want, so no one makes it, well, that's the free market and I'll have to suck it up.

I have no problem with device and media companies using DRM, ethically speaking. It makes their products less attractive to me personally, but they're betting that people like me are in the minority there. So be it. The only real problem with DRM is when laws like the DMCA in the USA prohibit you from circumventing it, because telling you what benign things you can do with a product you already own (short of redistribution) is just draconian.

Another case of treating a symptom to (1)

DrRobert (179090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942060)

try to solve a problem. The symptom of the problem is that Apple only supports one DRM scheme. This is not anti-competative, it's forced on them by the vendors who sell through their store. The problem is DRM, which is by its very nature anticompetative Any laws passed to control DRM will seem hypocritical in different cases. If you pass a law that says you can't have DRM and must use standard formats (which Apple does), then the playing field opens up with fair competition and you don't have the hypocrisy and market problems that arise by trying to pass ad-hoc legislation for each case of a vendor with a popular DRM scheme. I personally won't buy DRM'd music. There are plenty of cheap and fast way to get music legally without DRM restrictions.

get all the facts !! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942072)

Folks, get all the facts :
This law might just force the makers of mp3 players such as Apple to open their device to music PURCHASED on another store than the one that manufactures the MP3 player, but :
- it enforces the monitoring of all traffic on the internet (so that the "pirates" are fined 38 Euros per illegally downloaded song),
- it declares illegal to use, advertise, write or distribute any program that could be used to share music illegally or that could be used to transfer DRM protected data from one medium to another (you can't make MP3s of a purchased CD to put it on your MP3 player).

Since it is forbidden to access the source code of the DRM, you won't be allowed to read DVDs on a Linux Box, or any other DRM protected stuff, because DRM == proprietary software. this is the most restrictive interpretation of the European Directive anywhere in Europe !!

more info on http://eucd.info/ [eucd.info]

France are the biggest influence in the EU... (1)

Kittie Rose (960365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942128)

If France has a problem, it's a good chanc Europe will have a problem. While Europe probably doesn't make up quite as large a part of their Market as North America does, it's still significant. I for one am tired of Apple's tomfuckery. But I thought you could convert Mp3s to itunes? Apple can't technically call their devices Mp3 players, either.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...