French lawmakers stir up trouble on e-copyrights - again

Paris

Aaw, you got to the love the French. Government I mean. For the fourth time in the last few months, they've stirred up the proverbial with their approach to e-copyright issues.

This time they're not allowing file sharers free reign. Instead, they've effectively instructed Apple to release details of its iTunes digital rights management (DRM) system encryption to its competitors in France.

Nice one. Apple hasn't exactly got a history of allowing its competitors access to its technology, as witnessed by its ferocity over the years against crackers that have modified the Apple Mac's operating system.

Commenting on the planned law, Apple said it would almost certainly result in state-sponsored piracy.

"If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers," the company said in a statement e-mailed to journalists earlier this week.

"iPod sales will likely increase as users freely load their iPods with 'interoperable' music which cannot be adequately protected. Free movies for iPods should not be far behind in what will rapidly become a state-sponsored culture of piracy," it explained.

Under the new bill, companies would be required to reveal the secrets of all their copy-protection technologies such as Apple's FairPlay format and the ATRAC3 code used by Sony's Connect store and Walkman players.

This could allows users to download music directly to their iPods from stores other than iTunes, or to rival music players from iTunes France....