French lawmakers have agreed a watered-down version of controversial copyright proposals that threatened Apple's iTunes Music Store.

In its original form the bill demanded that Apple and other online music retailers sell music in a format that is also compatible with music players from other manufacturers. Apple threatened to withdraw its iTunes service from France as a result.

France is trying to ensure that consumers have the freedom to play music they have legally acquired with any device. They are not happy that iTunes purchases will only play on iPods.

The new law leaves Apple the loophole of reaching new deals with labels and artists who can agree to allow it to sell songs in a proprietary format.

Apple will be looking closely at the requirements of the new law. In a statement, the company explained: "We are awaiting the final result of France's legislative process, and hope they let the extremely competitive marketplace driven by customer choice decide which music players and online music stores are offered to consumers."

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