France in challenge to Apple on downloading

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The Independent Online

Lawmakers have drafted legislation that will enable the conversion of iTunes songs into a format that can be played on other types of players. "We must not permit the emergence of a monopoly," said Christian Vanneste, one of the deputies responsible for guiding the proposals into law. "You have to be able to download content and play it on any device."

The new law - expected to be approved in parliament on Tuesday - legalises the use of code-breaking software that can override copyright protections on digital content. These protections prevent iTunes tracks from being played on all but the iPod and a handful of other licensed devices.

Lawmakers shied away from stiffer proposals to force iTunes itself to sell downloads in alternative formats. That plan would have ripped apart Apple's phenomenally successful business model, and analysts believed the company would probably shut down its French iTunes site.