France's diluted iTunes plan becomes law

But Socialist Party still hopes to revise it, likely forcing copyright-protecting tech to be freely interoperable.

French legislation that had caused an uproar for its approach to iTunes has finally entered the statute books--but the controversy continues.

The law now in force is a watered-down version of a bill that had initially threatened to outlaw Apple Computer's practice of using digital rights management technology with purchases made on the iTunes Music Store. Apple's rivals can now request information necessary to make their services and MP3 players interoperable with iTunes and iPods, but Apple must be compensated.

France's main opposition party, the Parti Socialiste, has promised that, should it be elected in 2007, it will revise the law, after consulting with artists, consumers, businesses and Internet service providers.

"The law is unworkable, and its problems are growing," said Anne Hidalgo, the party's national secretary for culture and the media.

The party, however, hasn't proposed concrete changes, and its legislative representatives have yet to come to a consensus. After the debates concluded, however, Ségolène Royal--tipped as a future French president--publicly came out against noninteroperable DRM, issuing a joint communication with open-source crusader Richard Stallman to that effect.

Estelle Dumout of ZDNet France reported from Paris. Jo Best of reported from London.

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