Apple Blasts French Copyright Law

Apple broke a week of silence late Tuesday, attacking a proposed French law that would open up proprietary music services as equivalent to "state-sponsored piracy." However, the company stopped short of suggesting that it would pull out of the French market in order to avoid complying with the new legislation.

The bill passed the lower house of the French legislature on Tuesday by a two-to-one margin, and now heads for the Senate where debate and a vote are expected to occur in May.

In a statement, Apple spokeperson Natalie Kerris said that if the law passes, "legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers." Apple recently sold its one billonth track in the iTunes Music store, and sees some 3 million downloads per day.

However, Kerris' next comments seemed to suggest that the company was preparing to comply with the law, even if it disagreed with it. Many analysts had predicted otherwise, saying the closed format of iTunes and iPod is what have made Apple's digital music venture so successful.

Furthermore, she even suggested Apple might somehow benefit from the law. "iPod sales will likely increase as users freely upload their iPods with 'interoperable' music which cannot be adequately protected," she said.

Microsoft has said it is watching the debate closely and would comply with any ruling in order to help its partners stay in business within the country.

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