Lawmakers water down proposal on iTunes

French lawmakers voted to water down a draft copyright law that could force Apple Computer to make its iPod music player and iTunes online store compatible with rivals' offerings, an Associated Press report said.

Currently, music bought on Apple iTunes could be played only on iPods, and an iPod could not play songs purchased from rival stores, such as Sony's Connect, the report said.

Critics had called the restrictions anti-competitive and anti-consumer, but the lock-in was a key part of the companies' business models, the report further said.

The National Assembly, France's lower house, voted in March to force companies such as Apple and Sony to abandon their closed approaches and hand over exclusive copy-protection technologies to any rival that wanted to offer compatible music players and online stores, the report said.

While the compromise adopted still asserted that companies should share the technical data essential to such "interoperability," it toned down many of the tougher measures backed by the lower house, the report said.

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