France approves `iPod legislation' on music downloads

It's taken a while, but the French government has finally given its assent on a new law to force Apple to make its iTunes system downloads compatible for use on non-iTunes music devices.

Nice one. Apple's King Canute-style stance on iTunes has long been farcical and, I suspect, only served to contribute to the digital piracy problem.

Apple has hinted that it may pull out of France if the proposals are passed into actually legislation in France, but I suspect it will soon knuckle under and offer MP3 downloads - but only in France.

The $64,000 question, of course, is whether Apple will release details of its iTunes system to third-party music player manufacturers, as some experts are predicting.

I can't see this happening myself.

The most interesting aspect of the new law is the proposal to make the penalty for illegal downloads a simple ticketing system, rather like parking fines. It will be interesting to see if the French ISPs play ball on the gameplan...