The French National Assembly has adopted a copyright reform bill that outlaws closed digital rights management (DRM) technologies such as Apple's FairPlay. The bill requires approval by the Senate before it can become law.
National Assembly delegates Richard Cazenave and Bernard Carayon said in a statement that the legislation will provide consumers with "a fundamental right to read" content that they purchase on any device.
The bill specifically prohibits DRM technology from blocking any "legitimate use".
To protect free software, the legislation outlaws patents on DRM, and forces DRM developers to create open standards for their technology that allow software developers to add support.
"These provisions should prevent the emergence of online culture monopolies, and we hope that other countries, and Europe in particular, will take up these clauses," the delegates said.
The legislation would also impose a €38 to €150 fine on illegal copies of digital music.
The bill aims to end a practice known as 'vendor lock-in' for the digital media market. By preventing vendors from using proprietary media formats, it ensures consumer choice in terms of devices and services.
Apple currently offers the clearest example of vendor lock-in in the digital media space. The computer maker's iPod media players support only the unprotected MP3 format and the proprietary AAC format with the FairPlay DRM.
France could risk isolating itself by passing the legislation, however, as it could prompt media vendors to retreat from the market to avoid being forced to open up their technology.
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