France is trying to pass fair use law for digital music

24 03 2006

France is close to passing a law that would force digital music retailers to provide the software codes for their DRM (digital rights management). It’s a noble effort, because it would supposedly force Apple to let iTunes songs be played on other devices besides iPods and Motorola’s iTunes phone, and likewise for other companies, like Sony and Microsoft. But the problem is, these companies don’t want to share their DRM codes, because it would probably make it easier for hackers to figure out their encryption, and it might reduce sales of their proprietary music players. And so what would most likely happen is iTunes would quit selling songs in France. And so the government’s plan to “boost the legal digital market” may backfire in their faces…

I do wish the companies would cooperate with each other, as I’ve written before. But the only way this plan will work is if many countries adopt it, particular the U.S. (where they get most of their sales). But for that to happen, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) would have to be modified, which really needs to happen. That law conflicts with the law of Fair Use and thus is restricting our rights. And it’s very vague in its wording, so technically a black permanent marker is illegal because you could use it to bypass DRM on some audio CDs. That’s absurd, of course, but that conclusion could theoretically be reached…

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