March 22, 2006 9:59

New French law set to shake-up music downloads

Bill could have big implications for online music

New French law set to shake-up music downloads
A potential new law in France could shake-up the sale of music online.

French members of parliament are set to vote on a new rule which will enable downloads to play on any MP3 player regardless of which download service is used.

At present the formats used by most online stores force consumers to use a particular make of player to listen to their downloads.

However if the French bill is passed it will require providers like iTunes or Mircosoft to share their copy-protection software allowing the music to play on any brand of player.

The results of the law being passed could force companies into choosing between making their downloads compatible or shutting down in France entirely.

So far neither Apple or Microsoft, among others, have commented, and even if MPs pass the bill it still has to be approved by France’s Senate which could take several more weeks, BBC News reports.

The potential new copyright law has already proved contentious for online music.

The government voted down an amendment that would have legalised file sharing, while the fines for illegally downloading music have been reduced to below 150 euros (£104).

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