A recent French-Law.net article has been published that states a new DRM (Digital Rights Management) watchdog has been established in France. While this would not be the first DRM watchdog (given that defectivebydesign.org also serves as a DRM watchdog), it could still very easily pave the way to being one of the first DRM watchdogs in the world. The report says that they will be known as Autorité de Régulation des Mesures Techniques (the ARMT).
DRM may not be much of a problem for some consumers. But to others who want interoperability, or just an easier system in general, DRM can be a stumbling block for those wishing not to rely on file-sharing for their entertainment needs. The debate surrounding DRM, many will rightfully argue, has been mostly shaped by the rocky road the technology has been through.
There is no other higher profile case then the Sony rootkit fiasco that occurred clear back in 2005. Few supported Sony in the fiasco with the exception of Cary Sherman. Even supporters of DRM were seen to be condemning Sony's practice. The fiasco extended into other countries which included Canada. In essence, Sony was as big as a DRM story got.
Since then, complaints continued over DRM which included not being able to play the music on some car stereos (interoperability), competition issues and issues with licenses and DRM which includes GPL 3.0 and Creative Commons to name a few.
Recently, EMI announced that they were going to launch the sale of DRM music across their catalogue. Some critics of DRM argue that while it is a step in the right direction, the extra cost attached to the DRM-free music is still a hindrance. Others argue that it took too long to make this move. Yet some argue that this is simply a good move in general. Apple and Microsoft supported the move and offered to sell the music for EMI while other stores are said to follow these steps soon with exceptions to certain styles of selling music that doesn't involve direct payment on a per song basis.
ARMT seems to have addressed two of the biggest issues concerning many. First, DRM is not interoperable and second, DRM can prevent acts that are otherwise legal such as copying for private and personal use.
The organization is an independent arm with two missions which are to implement an operability requirement for DRM (a critique to the current dadvsi law) and to ensure that DRM does not prevent users from the benefits of copyright exceptions such as the private copying exception.
Decisions of ARMT is said to be made by members of the organization to cast votes. If the vote is tied, the president holds the right to split the vote. Essentially like a parliamentary system only in parliament, a "speaker" breaks the tie vote.
Many of the issues also raised seem to have been an issue surrounding the Sony rootkit fiasco of 2005. The facts and statements can be found as French-Law.net.