First Looks at France, Post-Legislative Mandate

French law on iPod, iTunes takes effectpdf

A closely watched French law that lets regulators force Apple Computer Inc. to make its iPod player and iTunes online store compatible with rival offerings went into effect Thursday.

The Internet copyright law passed France’s parliament June 30 after fierce debate and a gradual weakening of its initial punch. Apple had called an early draft “state-sponsored piracy,” and some analysts have said the law could force Apple to close iTunes France and pull its market-leading player from the country’s shelves.

But the law was expected to have little immediate effect. A new government regulatory authority assigned to monitor the law is not expected to be in place until this fall. Much will depend on the law’s interpretation by the French courts, as well as the stance taken by recording companies.