Paris mayor defends France's wariness of U.S. tech

During summit with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Bertrand Delanoe speaks up about Apple, Google.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
The mayors of San Francisco and Paris locked arms Thursday and pledged to bridge the digital divide together.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in a round-table discussion at San Francisco's City Hall about how each city can help the other spur growth in their respective digital-media sectors. Also in attendance were representatives from local tech companies, including Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, the Orphanage and Wildbrain, as well as French technology leaders.

The meeting came as Franco-U.S. relations are supposed to be at an all-time low. Many Americans haven't forgiven France for declining to support the U.S. mission in Iraq.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the French are wary of U.S. control of the Internet.

The French National Assembly recently passed legislation that will try to force Apple Computer to make the songs it sells through its iTunes Music Store playable on competitors' devices, and not just on the iPod. The French government says Apple's tight grip on online music amounts to a monopoly. Apple has responded by calling France's decision "state-sponsored piracy."

Worried about a cultural invasion, French President Jacques Chirac has called for the 's="" totally="" normal="" that="" the="" u.s.="" wants="" to="" be="" strong="" and="" protect="" their="" people="" technology,"="" delanoe="" said="" through="" a="" translator.="" "but="" rules="" have="" same="" for="" everybody...the="" can't="" favor="" one="" country."="" <="" p="">

Delanoe said his visit was prompted by San Francisco's success in promoting digital media companies. He also commended Newsom's plan to offer citizens free Wi-Fi access.

Delanoe "said Paris is hoping to be the second city to do free Wi-Fi," Newsom told reporters. "This is a big issue internationally, the possibility of giving people free access to information. Mayors around the world are paying attention to what S.F. is doing. This effort is a big part of bridging the digital divide."