French legislators recently approved a bill that will force technology companies such as Apple Computer to share proprietary technology with rivals. Such a move is not only a recipe for disaster but completely unnecessary.
The digital music market has always been a tumultuous place. For a long time, Hollywood and Silicon Valley battled over how to sell music while avoiding the theft of digital goods. Now that there’s a truce and Apple’s iTunes store just sold its 1 billionth legally downloadable song, it’s more than a little ironic that the French government wants to essentially steal Apple’s intellectual property.
“The French implementation of the EU Copyright Directive will result in state-sponsored piracy,” Apple said in a statement. “If this happens, legal music sales will plummet just when legitimate alternatives to piracy are winning over customers.”
It’s not a given that a standardized platform would promote music piracy as Apple implies, but it is the case that if France’s bill passes the Senate in May, the country will be endorsing the theft of Apple’s intellectual property by its rivals. That’s not a good outcome and one might wonder what is motivating the French to take such drastic action.
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