French law on iTunes not good for innovators, says US group

A US technology association has labeled a new French law requiring "interoperability" of devices like Apple's iPod music player as an "attack on intellectual property rights" of all companies, an AFP report said.

The report said the Americans for Technology Leadership, a group that included major US firms such as Microsoft, said the new law approved by France's Parliament remained troublesome despite the last-minute modifications.

"The final vote today by French lawmakers on legislation that would force Apple to open its iTunes product to competitors' devices is an attack on intellectual property rights, not just of Apple, but all companies," the organization said in a statement.

"While the final version is slightly less severe than the earlier draft, it still illustrates France's complete disregard for intellectual property," Jim Prendergast, the group's executive director, was also quoted as saying.

The new law was drafted initially to conform with EU directives on copyright protection of online works. It also included language that could require Apple to open its popular iTunes Music Store to companies producing rival digital music players to its iPods, the report said.

But, in a concession to months of fierce lobbying by Apple, the law also contained a loophole that would allow the US technology company to demand the right to maintain software blocks against competitors.