French law to declare open season on DRM

Here’s an idea that takes a little bit of thought before you can wrap your head around it. There is a law being proposed in France that would force companies like Apple to open up content downloaded from, say, the iTunes Music Store to be used on non-Apple devices. If they don’t comply, customers would be allowed to break the DRM.

The French government is saying this law is designed to fight piracy and promote legal music downloads. At first this may sound counter-intuitive, because by breaking DRM, it makes the legally downloaded content more easily “shared” illegally, because the files are now playable on any device, and not just an iPod. However, if making legal downloads more viable, they hope that this route is a more attractive to potential customers.

In other words, if you bought an iPod and purchased hundreds of dollars worth of content from the ITMS, and then decided to jump ship and buy a different MP3 player, you currently would not be able to load that content onto your new player. Under this proposed law, you would. Clearly, the idea is being thrown around in the interests of consumers, rather than the companies that sell PlaysForSure-protected WMA files and the like. After all, Apple doesn’t want you to buy any other MP3 player than their own iPods.


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