Those French! [5:40 pm]
France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc (Nasdaq:AAPL - news) to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker’s popular iPod player.
Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.
It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management — the codes that protect music, films and other content — if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France.
“It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up … You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,” Vanneste told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.
[...] The law, if enacted, could prompt Apple to shut its iTunes store in France, some industry observers say, to keep from making songs vulnerable to conversion outside France, too.
[...] Police agents can monitor music exchange Web sites and trace back the email address of beneficiaries by asking the Internet service provider for it through a court order.
The proposed law would also secure private copies of legally downloaded material, but the number of private copies could be limited and have yet to be determined. DVDs are expected to be excluded from the law, Vanneste said.
The new legislation is triggered by France’s need to transpose the European directive on copyrights into its own body of law, which it failed to do by the December 2002 deadline.