Details of the ruling that the nine-member French Constitutional Council gave last week on the recent law that would require Apple to unlock its DRM are finally becoming clearer.

Although the Council struck down several key provisions of the law, it left in place the DRM Regulation Authority to oversee the licensing of DRM for all file-sharing networks.

It also ruled that the Authority could decide the amount of the fee to be given to a company in return for releasing its DRM code to its competitors.

In practical, real-world terms, this means that instead of Apple having to release its code to anyone, it would only have to open its DRM to its competitors, like Microsoft, in return for compensation in an amount decided by the DRM Regulation Authority.

The Council effectively decided that mandatory sharing violated intellectual property, which should be respected as much as personal property.

The original law also had provisions to fine illegal file shares in the region of €40-75, but the Council struck this down so that the law allows violators to be fined up to €500,000 with five years in prison.

The bottom line is that Apple may still have to share its iTunes DRM, but only if the Authority mandates it, and only, according to the wording of the law, to those who can claim to be its competitors.