Apple has so far refused to comment on the bill or on analysts' suggestions that the Cupertino, California company might choose to withdraw from the French online music market rather than share the proprietary technology at the heart of its business model.
Under the bill, companies would be required to reveal the secrets of hitherto-exclusive copy-protection technologies such as Apple's FairPlay format and the ATRAC3 code used by Sony's Connect store and Walkman players.
That would permit consumers for the first time to download music directly to their iPods from stores other than iTunes, or to rival music players from iTunes France.
Apple has most to lose because of its phenomenal penetration of the digital music market, according to analysts. Critics of the French move say legislators have no business forcing Apple to share its proprietary format -- arguing that customers know its limitations when they choose to buy an iPod.