Fnac and Virgin announced that they will put online, without any technical protection against copies, 350 thousand titles.
The objective of the measure is to increase sales of music online, which after the introduction of anti-copy measures attracts fewer users who do not want to see their ability to use the content acquired on various devices limited.
The announcement comes days before the start of the forty-first edition of the International Disc Market and Music Edition, MIDEM, which kicks off on Sunday.
Fnac Music moves forward with availability for sale online, without limitation, of 150 titles, in MP3 format, while Virgin Mega takes the same strategic option for 200 thousand titles, starting in March.
The measure has the support of the producers of the content involved, explains Les Echos.
In the last few months there has been a sharp drop in music sales in France online, which follows the drop in record sales, which in 2006 fell 14 percent again.
Most French music stores use DRM systems to protect their content from illegal copying, a measure supported by legislation passed last year with much challenge from consumer associations.
This law, which transposes the European Intellectual Property Directive into the country’s legal order, provides for heavy financial penalties for attempting to violate DRM systems and for illegal copying, creating only minor exceptions for the private use of digital music that do not guarantee total freedom of movement for the user.
According to the international press, only one French music store decided not to adopt a DRM system since the option has a legal framework, the NeoMusicStore.
With the move of the two giants to make MP3 files available without protection, it is expected that other stores will follow the same example.
2006-05-12 – France creates regulator to monitor interoperability of digital music formats
2006-05-08 – French Senate debates amendments regarding copyright law
2006-03-17 – French parliament toughens sanctions for online piracy