The French Senate passed a version of a controversial copyright bill Wednesday 164-128, moving the changes closer to law. First, a committee has to resolve differences between the Senate and National Assembly versions, which is expected to take months. One major difference between the two: a last-minute change to the Senate version that shifts interoperability from the realm of the consumer to the corporate. Instead of guaranteeing interoperability for users, companies would go to a new agency to seek access to another company’s DRM-protected content.
Reuters: “Under the Senate’s new version, a company that agrees to provide these codes will receive a license fee as compensation along with guarantees that the transfer of information will not weaken its copyright protection measures. “We have to ensure that interoperability does not open the doors to abuse,” a Senate representative, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters on Thursday.
No comment on the changes from Apple yet; earlier, the company said the bill supported “state-sponsored piracy” and has suggested it might close the iTunes store in France rather than comply.
BW: “The spectre of Apple shutting down the French outpost of its iTunes Music Store is very real. Apple hasn’t said as much publicly, but France’s portion of Apple’s music-download business accounts for less than 1% of the business unit’s worldwide revenue. A contentious new legal and regulatory environment would make it hardly worth the effort — let alone the increased cost — of keeping the French store open.”
Related: France And iTunes: Confusion May Be The Only Certainty