Draft passed March 21 awaits Senate adoption.

The debate on the controversial French copyright bill will resume in the Senate on May 4.

The draft, which was voted by the French Parliament on March 21 after weeks of passionate discussions, has to be adopted by the Senate in the same terms before it can be integrated into French law.

Should the Senate vote to make significant amendments, the bill would likely be re-examined by the Parliament, as promised by French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

Among the key measures voted by the Parliament is the right to interoperability, which poses a potential threat to Apple Computer's dominance of the digital download market through its iTunes Music Store.

As previously reported, the bill also introduces a range of fines for infringers, from €38 ($46) for illegally downloading of files to €30,000 ($36,500) for distributing technical means to bypass copyright protection (except for interoperability purposes).

Distributors of a software "patently" geared towards the distribution of copyrighted works without authorization are liable to a €300,000 ($365,000) penalty.

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