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Apple vs. France

Business Week - March 21, 2006

By Arik Hesseldahl

Having been passed by the National Assembly, the legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass, says Francois Laugier, a lawyer with the San Francisco law firm Ropers Majeski Kohn and Bentley, who is also licensed to practice law in France. Oddly enough, he says, Apple's best allies in any fight against this law may lie with French Socialist and Communist legislators who may oppose the law simply for the purpose of opposing those who favor it.

"If it passes the Senate," Laugier says, "there are members of those parties who have suggest that they would like to take the law to the Conseil Constitutionnel," or the constitutional council, the highest legal authority in France on matters relating to constitutional law. Somewhat analogous to the U.S. Supreme Court, the council has the power, for instance, to declare that certain provisions of a law violate the constitution, and thus render it invalid.

EU EXCEPTION?  Were Laugier advising Apple, he would suggest fighting the law in France. "I'd start lobbying the politicians who favor bringing it to before the council," he says. "The provisions of this law that affect Apple are actually very small, and the council might strip them from the bill, or modify them."