Numerous sources including the AP are reporting that the lower house of the French parliament has approved a law that would require Apple and others to open up their proprietary DRM systems. The bill will not become law until and unless passed by the French Senate.
Breaking days of silence late Tuesday, Apple said such a law would "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 reporters. "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."
The Cupertino, Calif. company did not address the issue of whether it might withdraw from the French online music market, and refused further comment.
While I have great regard for the French, the Apple comment is on target.
I'm reminded of that moment in Casablanca where Victor Laszlo [played by Paul Henreid] instructs the house band to play the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, which is literally quite a bloody song, the last verse of which has been translated as:
Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!
It would appear that at least as far as Apple and others who employ DRM in France are concerned, that the liberty of the market is headed for la Toilette.