In a move that could completely change online music stores, the French are due to vote on a bill that would free propriety copy protection formats. At the moment if you buy a song on iTunes you are expected to only play it on your iPod or through iTunes, moves from companies like Real to allow songs purchased from iTunes to be played on Real Player have been blocked by Apple.
Similary, songs purchased from Napster will not play on an Apple Mac. The French Government has addressed peoples concerns on this and the bill would ensure that digital music could be played on any player, regardless of where it was bought. The proposal would therefore allow music downloaded from iTunes to be played on Apple's competitor's mp3 players.
With Apple dominating the online music market as well as the mp3 market this could be a lifeline to companies struggling to compete with the steam horse that is the Apple machine. The bill would also allow iPod users to take advantage of music rental services like Napster, which are currently locked to just windows based devices.
If the bill is passed Apple would be given the difficult decision of either opening their store to other formats or closing it completely in France, allowing other services to gain a market share. According to the BBC Apple are yet to make an announcement on the bill.
View: iTunes Store