French Legislators OK iTunes Regulation

French legislators on Friday gave official approval to a law that could force Apple Computer, producer of the iPod digital music player, to make its iTunes Music Store, as well as its future iPods, compatible with music players made by its competitors and their related download services, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.

France’s Senate and National Assembly voted to approve the copyright bill, according to the AP, which could lead Apple and other rivals in the digital music player and download space to exit the market in the country. 

The bill will now become law in France, and any previous objections to it are now considered invalid, the AP reports.

Apple’s iTunes Music Store currently allows its users to download songs and video clips, among other offerings, for use with their iPods; however, content purchased via iTunes will play only on iPods, and vice versa, content downloaded via other services—like Napster—will not play on Apple’s devices.

Earlier this year, Apple said the original version of the copyright law was “state-sponsored piracy.”

The final text of the bill still says Apple should make the technology behind its music player and download service available to competitors, but it also contains a loophole that would allow Apple to circumvent the “interoperability” provisions by gaining permission from artists or record labels to set compatibility restrictions.

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