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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Apple gets French iTunes reprieve
Apple iTunes store
Apple's iTunes store has sold more than a billion songs
The future of iTunes in France looks more secure after MPs watered down a draft of its new copyright law.

The bill had aimed to ensure digital music could be played on any player, regardless of its format or source.

But the MPs have amended the draft, to allow copyright holders to set compatibility restrictions.

This means artists and song writers could strike deals with Apple and its rivals, allowing them to restrict which systems the music will play on.

Most online stores lock consumers into their own downloading systems and players, such as with Apple's iTunes and its iPod.

Restrictions

The compromise proposals, which also would apply to video downloads, still have to be ratified by France's upper and lower house.

Under the bill, companies such as Apple, Sony and Microsoft could still be forced to share their proprietary copy-protection systems if the restrictions imposed went against what the copyright holder wanted.

Apple dominates the online music market worldwide. Its iTunes store accounts for more than 70% of paid digital downloads in some countries, having sold more than a billion songs since it was set up three years ago.

Analysts predicted that had it been forced to share codes, regardless of what artists wanted, then Apple would have shut its French iTunes store rather than comply.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See how iTunes works



SEE ALSO
French MPs vote to open up iTunes
21 Mar 06 |  Technology
Apple attacks plan to open iTunes
22 Mar 06 |  Technology
iTunes achieves one billion mark
25 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Apple addresses iTunes concerns
19 Jan 06 |  Technology
Snooping fears plague new iTunes
13 Jan 06 |  Technology
iTunes 'outsells' US music stores
22 Nov 05 |  Entertainment

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