Apple has accused France of “state sponsored piracy” for supporting a law that would force Apple’s iTunes service to work on rival players to its iPod media player.
The proposed law is designed to make sure that no single internet music provider can dominate the content or hardware market. The law has just been passed by France’s lower house of parliament and is now being swiftly moved to the Senate for approval.
The law would force Apple to share details of its digital rights management technology with rivals. iTunes tracks are protected by Apple's FairPlay technology and are not compatible with most non-iPod players.
Apple said, “The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy. If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers.”
Apple claims the French law would actually see the sale of iPods increase as users freely loaded their devices with “interoperable music that could not be adequately protected”.
The iPod only plays songs purchased via the market dominant iTunes website and tracks that are not copy protected.
Apple has not said how it will respond if the law is passed. There is speculation that it may consider withdrawing from the French market rather than share its technology.