Thursday, March 30, 2006

The French DRM Law, and the Right to Interoperate

Felten on The French DRM Law, and the Right to Interoperate

"The key issue is whether third-party products can interoperate with iTunes...

...the DMCA anticircumvention provisions have given incumbent companies an effective right to veto the development of interoperable products, and have thereby blocked innovation. France, wisely, wants to avoid this problem...

But this is where the French proposal overreaches. Rather than simply protecting the ability of other companies to interoperate with iTunes, by keeping their path free of legal barriers, the proposal would require Apple to take affirmative steps to help rivals interoperate.

Imposing that obligation on Apple is not necessary, in my view. iTunes is not very complicated, so others should be able to figure out how to interoperate, for example by reverse engineering iTunes, as long as the law clearly allows them to do so. The disclosure obligation, though less onerous than critics say, won’t provide much extra benefit, so it’s not worth imposing its cost on Apple and others."

No comments: