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France Passes Softened iTunes Bill


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A bill that once threatened iTunes' dominance in France was approved by the country's parliament on Friday, albeit in a watered down form. While the initial bill essentially made closed proprietary digital rights management systems illegal, a loophole inserted into a compromise bill softened that requirement.

The initial bill passed through the lower house led some to believe that Apple might pull out of the country to protect its proprietary FairPlay DRM, the French Senate in May amended the bill to say that music stores would be allowed to keep their exclusivity only after receiving the go-ahead from copyright holders and artists.

The two houses later compromised and submitted the combined bill for a revote last week. The law was passed Friday, however much to the chagrin of supporters of the stricter bill. Socialists in Parliament threatened legal action to attempt to have the more stringent policy enforced.

The government says it disagrees with the Socialist's argument, saying the bill adequately weighs the rights of musicians, record labels, and consumers.

Pressure to open up Apple's FairPlay format is surfacing elsewhere. Consumer groups in Norway, Sweden and Denmark accused Apple of violating contracts with its product usage regulations, and asked governments to take action earlier this month.
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