News
News
5/11/2006
04:25 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

French Senate Waters Down DRM-Interop Bill

The French Senate bowed to intense lobbying pressure, passing a watered down digital copyright bill that replaces a DRM-interoperability requirement with what critics see as a useless and "irresponsible" bureaucratic-review process.

PARIS — The French Senate bowed to intense lobbying pressure, approving a watered down digital copyright bill that differs significantly from the controversial version passed at the National Assembly last March.

The new bill is likely to give Apple Computers enough leeway to keep its proprieatry digital rights management (DRM) system used in iTunes and iPod. But consumer advocates and developers of open source software here have called the Senate action late Wednesday (May 10) "irresponsible" for "having thrown away most of the work done by the National Assembly."

The bill's most controversial element, requiring "interoperability," survived the Senate debate. But the new bill no longer demands that companies like Apple give details of their DRM system to those who wish to develop interoperable systems—as stipulated initially in legislation passed by the National Assembly.

Instead, the Senate reached a compromise by adding another bureaucratic layer: creation of a new regulatory authority that would mediate requests for interoperability.

The French government will give the agency the power to order companies to share details of their DRM system, but companies will be able to refuse to do so as long as their DRM systems are approved by the author or copyright holder.

A critic of the bill complained, "Now, instead of forcing a publisher [of music or movies] to accept free competition with its DRM, the bill says that you must talk to the commission first. Then, the commission will politely ask the questions to the publisher...."

Critics of the Senate version called it "dangerous" because it can force a software publisher to integrate DRM into software "that can be used to distribute copyrighted works." The open source community consider peer-to-peer file sharing essential to their work. They said the mandate to include DRM in software can be "very harmful."

The version approved by the Senate will now go to a conference committee to iron out differences between the two versions.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Tech Digest Oct. 27, 2014
To meet obligations -- and avoid accusations of cover-up and incompetence -- federal agencies must get serious about digitizing records.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.