Feeds

back to article CD WOW! vows to take £35m High Court defeat to Europe

CD WOW!, the British online music retailer, will continue its legal fight against the music industry despite a £35m award against it in the UK courts this week. The firm says that it will take the battle to the European Court of Justice if it can. Trade body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) took a case against CD WOW! …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

The benefits of Globalisation

It's all a bit one-sided, isn't it? The benefits of Globalisation appear to be available only to corporations. *They* can quite happily move production to where it's cheaper, at the cost of local jobs. Us consumers, on the other hand, *cannot* legally buy from where it is cheaper: we are obliged to accept the prices set in our market by those same corporations/cartels.

And haven't the BPI already gotten their cut from the sale of their CDs in Hong Kong? Presumably the UK cut is much bigger.

Best of luck to CD-WOW.

Here's hoping that in the not too distant future, the British Phonographic Industry will be as anachronistic as its name implies.

0
0

Price manipulation

Price fixing is is illegal in most lines of business. It may be defensible in the relative costs of games software/consoles (but probably not). That a government body should support anti competitive practices is unjust. Maybe we now have carte blanch to take action against anything imposed upon us by a government shown to act illegally.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Parallel Importing is GOOD, Vista is Expensive

"To sell a CD licensed only for Hong Kong in the UK, for example, infringes copyright."

ONLY IN THE UK.

When I was younger, parallel importing of (REAL NON FAKE) copyrighted goods was legal & good. US software was cheaper than UK software, so there would be a whole bunch of grey importers of US software, so you could buy the US version of any piece of software here in the UK.

Of course the companies didn't like it, but it was up to them to block parallel imports via contracts & enforcement with their distributors.

But it was a good thing, it made sure Britain wasn't disadvantaged in world trade, they could always source the cheapest version of a product from anywhere in the world. Whether it was Levi's or MS Vista.

Levi's fought back, in a famous case against Tesco's where it used Trademark law to claim that Tesco's shouldn't be allowed to sell Levi's it had bought abroad.

Then something weird and stupid happened. The UK added a clause into copyright law, so that parallel imports would be illegal.

The UK law would directly interpret UK contracts and foreign contracts it had no access to and no jurisdiction over. It would determine if the UK importer had an exclusive contract, and if it did, importing of that product by anyone else would be illegal.

IMPORTER'S CONTRACTS WERE GIVEN SPECIAL LEGAL STATUS!

It's why we have to pay more for Vista, it's why we pay through the nose for many products. Why we can't simply buy the US version at US prices.

That law should be thrown out, you don't put Britain deliberately at a competitive disadvantage.

0
0

rip off

Well it goes to prove that the great British Rip off is still alive & well, if it is cheaper for a company to purchase items in Hong Kong & then ship them to the UK & still make a profit., then it proves that our prices are inflated well above the manufacture & acceptable margins for profit.

Hong Kong has a much higher cost of living so in theory there goods should cost more.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Dreaming of a government for the people...

Wouldn't it be nice to think we had a government that would actually work for the people that voted for them for a change. It's patently obvious that consumers would benefit from cheaper CDs (for a start there would be less money for manufactured pop music - so music would improve!).

But no, our so-called government will listen to the music industry (are they star struck?), ignore us consumers, and treat us to some diatribe from some supercilious nauseating drone on the Today program to "tell" us something about "it's better than 1897", and find a new tourist to blame. In the meantime the rest of us have to put up with higher prices.

Little wonder we're a nation of whingers.

0
0
Silver badge

Confused...

Amazon is a prominent member of the body who brought the complaint against CD WOW! Yes, the same Amazon who import CDs and DVDs from Jersey precisely so they can avoid paying UK sales taxes.

The BPI claims that I need to pay over the odds for CDs and DVDs in order to support the thriving monoculture of the high street - should I hold my breath waiting for the BPI to begin action against Amazon?

0
0

Anti-competitive

Exclusive import contracts should be deemed illegal. They should be thrown out of court if anyone ever tries to throw their weight around like Levi's or the BPI.

Actually, the law as it stands with regard to copyright need some serious re-work. Organisations like the BPI and RIAA are allowed to take royalties for music from artists who are not even signed up to any of the labels they represent! That is fraud, pure and simple.

This whole mess is one very good reason I have now chosen to stop buying music. (I can live without it: 100 years ago, there wasn't even a music industry, and our ancestors didn't have a problem with that.) If everyone does the same, we can cut off their air supply - and then we'll be in a far better position to negotiate how things will be done.

As for Windows Vista, I won't be buying it. Ditto for Adobe - I'll be sticking with Windows XP and CS2.

Oliver.

0
0

no wonder people are angainst globalisation

No wonder people are angainst globalisation if all the benefits are for big corporations and not for the average consumer. I personally am getting more and more feed up by this siyuation, especially in technology and entertainment business where abuste are the most flagrant.

0
0

Why doesnt CD now just move to another EU country.

Only the UK slaveishly serves there corporate masters in this way.

Whey not just up sticks and bnase the operation in Luxembourg or Malta?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Dreaming ...

Government working for the people? WAKE UP!!

The only people that politicians work for are themselves and shareholders of the corporations on whose boards most of them serve. Why do you thing ID cards are getting pushed so hard? A bunch of the labour cronies are on the boards of the biometric tech companies.

The thing that really gets up my nose though, is that even though a lot of people on the UK can see whats going on, you idiots keep voting for them regardless.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Complete abuse of copyright law

This is nothing short of an abuse of copyright law to protect regional markets and inflate/fix prices. It's anti-consumer and completely against any concept of global free trade.

In fact if they did this within the EU (blocking imports from another member state) it would be illegal under EU law!

Copyright is there to protect unlawful copying. Not to prevent people from buying a perfectly legal product that has even often been produced by the same record label (or movie company), purely because they didn't buy it at a higher price in the UK.

If I go to Hong Kong and buy a cheap CD. That's legal. Buy it from a Hong Kong based online retailer, and that's considered breach of copyright... huh? !!!

The whole thing is a farce when you consider there are many other kinds of products that are never considered in breach of copyright to import from outside the EU.

I feel the urge to start a petition to close this loophole in copyright law and make parallel importing legal, but it won't make a difference, especially when the whole regional market protectionism is so widespread across many industries (not just music and movies), and of such benefit to the government who make a lot of money off taxes from high priced UK goods.

Maybe the only solution is to invite the whole world to join the EU. Much as I dislike the EU, this is the one thing they are actually good for. Or perhaps just declare my house independent from the UK and EU.

Also, as cd-wow say, what about all the other bigger companies doing the same? They've just deliberately gone after the little guy.

Sony killed lik-sang with big powerful lawyers just because they sold import consoles. Now the BPI are looking to have killed cd-wow.

0
0

"British music depends on it"

If the bpi really cared about british music they would consider paying the artists a bit more.

0
0

If we can't buy cheap CD's legally, then we might as well just download mp3's

I'm a regular customer of CD WOW and am very happy with the service and prices. I can save £5-£10 on every CD I buy from them compare to a UK retailer.

There is no way I am paying £17.99 for a CD Album from HMV, so either I will buy it from CD WOW for a tenner (much more acceptable) or I'll not bother trying to legally buy it and just download it from the net somewhere.

Surely forcing us to pay higher prices increases piracy?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

...and then they complain about dropping sales...

I'm still mystified as to how this is meant to 'protect' the UK music indistry. The CDs that CDWOW sell are legitimately manufacturers CDs, from the sale of which producers, songwriters, artists, etc. all get paid. The only differences I can think of in terms of revenue between a UK CD and a Hong Kong CD are that a) a UK-based pressing plant would get the contract for the UK CD and b) the market allows a higher price for the UK version.

However, neither of these arguments really fly. If UK CD manufacturing jobs are at risk due to cheaper competition from overseas, then so what? Every other manufacturing industry has to put up with this, and don't get artificial protection. Even if the UK pressing plants went under, the people who produce the music (e.g. people who matter in the music industry) still get paid when a CD is purchased.

We constantly hear about how 'piracy' causes falling CD sales. What about the high prices? It shouldn't take a genius to work out that, if CDWOW and other retailers could sell significantly cheaper CDs, then sales would increase. Artificially high prices are massively contributing to the problem, especially in an age when a blank CD can sell for a few pence.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Thatt settles it for me then

If I can't buy cheaply from abroad, I'm just going to download them via bit torrents or (as is increasingly possible) buy them direct from the musicians, rather than line the wallets of the irrelevant middlemen at the BPI.

It's already obvious that the idea of musicians making their own CDs and marketing them themselves has got the music giants terrified. They're terrified because they've been found out.

Musicians and consumers have realised that they don't need these bloated corporations who simply leech off the rest of us, but rather than ditch their antiquated business model, they're going to continue to pretend that "home taping is killing music" and bury their heads in the sand.

The days of these corporate dinosaurs is over. The digital asteroid has already hit - they just haven't noticed how cold it's getting yet.

0
0

Record industry shoots self in foot again but still doesn't notice

Yet another reason why I've stopped buying CD's and TV series DVD's for that matter. I used to spend roughly 60-100 quid a month on music, and feel quite ripped off when you get home to find out that most of that product is maybe two or three decent tunes per CD padded out with cruft knocked up in the studio over tea break.

It's plainly clear that the 'global market place' is only global if you're the corporates. No wonder these G7/8 type summits attract violent protests, the ballot box is no use when trying to get politicians, who are already in the pockets of the companies, to protect worker and consumer rights.

Recently I wrote an email to Sonos pointing out that even after import duty and VAT and carriage, their UK product still far exceeded the equivalent dollar price. This was their excuse:

Dear Kevin,

First of all thank you for your interest in our product.

As you state correctly there is a price difference between the US and

Europe.

This however is our price policy and is mostly due to the cost of doing

business in Europe. Of course we will always try to improve our product

and its price.

Hope this answers your question, if there is anything else you want to

know please don't hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,

Mark Vellinga

Sonos Europe B.V.

What a load of bollocks, why not let me order their product from their US site, pay in dollars and ship it on a 7-15 day air freight, but no and as is usual with many US companies, you gotta have a US address to complete the order form.

It's all just one big rip off to protect the already fat and greasy corporate bottom line.

Kev

0
0

Where's the sale?

-So it's illegal to sell the CD's in the UK? OK - it shouldn't be, but it is.

-It is perfectly legal to bring a CD in to the country with you from an outside market

-It is legal to ship CDs and DVD's internationally

Surely the easiest way around this problem is to define where the CD's are actually being sold. Is the PC location count as the point of sale? Does the location of the websites server? What about the payment processing hardware. Or the shipping plant? If the answer is that the sale is not definately being made in the UK then the BPI don't have a leg to stand on.

I really hope CD WOW use this line of defence, rather than simply arguing the toss over a (admittedly crap) law as they have done to date.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Record companies lose 0.087 million pounds to counterfeiting = 4 jobs max

"a UK-based pressing plant would get the contract for the UK CD"

Actually they make those in Holland, e.g. EMI make them in Udem, or at least they use to before selling the plant to MediaMotion.

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2004/03/31/cinram_040331.html

"EMI is outsourcing CD and DVD production in the Netherlands to MediaMotion, which will buy the Uden plant and hire the roughly 400 people who work there."

"However, neither of these arguments really fly. "

I recall the arguments used were:

1. As an example to other nations.

It didn't work, they're not that stupid as to disadvantage their own people, and now they have a competitive advantage over us, they're less likely to. Does giving people free money so they give you back more free money in return ever work?

2. It's difficult to detect counterfeit copies if the product is imported.

The idea here was that Customs and Excise would seize all products that aren't destined for the official importer with the license as though they are counterfeit.

CDWOW were not given the opportunity to show they are legal copies, and BPI don't dispute it, so that doesn't apply. Since when have we had default guilt until prove innocence???

That was when the numbers suggested counterfeit goods cost 200,000 jobs in Europe, but the GAO recent numbers when examined in Canada suggested otherwise.

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1922/125/

"Of 287,000 inspected shipments from 2000 - 2005, IP violations were only found in 0.06 percent of shipments - less than one tenth of one percent."

"Moreover, the GAO notes that despite increases in IP seizures, the value of those seizures in 2005 represented only 0.02 percent of the total value of imports of goods in product categories that are likely to involve IP protection."

Assuming the UK is similar, they're making laws to tackle 0.02% of trade in imported IP goods into the UK.

http://www.bpi.co.uk/index.asp?Page=news/stats/news_content_file_768.shtml

"The UK music industry has an enviable export record with annual net earnings in excess of £435m"

So at most (assuming we import less than we export), we're talking about a loss of 435,000,000 * 0.02% = 87,000 pounds. Since the UK average wage is 23244, thats not even 4 jobs lost in the UK max.

0
0

"Captive" audience?

What makes these guys think that those denied of buying from CD-WOW will

then want to resume paying their over-inflated prices?

Its my experience that you dont usually go back to paying a higher price when you've paid a lower one. Its just counter to human nature.

I feel instead that those affected by this issue will either a)not buy any more CDs from 'major' retailers, or b)use torrented files.

Gary

0
0

Correct me if im wrong

Whats to stop CD wow opening shop in hong kong, legally buying the cd's/dvd's and then charging you the same money for the price of "shipping costs", in theory cd wow still owns the cd regardless of it being in your possession, or is this also a breech in copyright of "loaning" property with on a wide scale level without specfic licenses to do so (like your local blockbuster/xtravision etc.).

0
0

Missing the point

Am I just missing the point or is it an irrelevant point that 'The vibrancy of British music depends on a fair return on the investments that allow British talent to shine'? Are the artists not making the same money wherever we buy it from, seeing as the higher cost in the UK is just inflation of the price by the shop to make more profit. If someone can afford to sell it cheaper and still make a profit then that's just business and can only serve as a wake up call to the UK stores that they need to do something to stay in the market.

If we woke up to the fact that we live in a globalised society and can demand more from companies who are clearly price fixing then things may actually change. Sadly, though, until we vote with our feet nothing will change.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Amazon

How come it's okay for a UK punter to buy a CD from Amazon.com from the US where the CDs are sourced in the US, but not from cd-wow which is based in Hong Kong and the CDs are sourced from the far-east?

What also gives Amazon the right to back the BPI in their quest to stamp on cd-wow when they are surely breaching the same copyright laws themselves?

0
0

Used?

Is it legal to sell used CDs in the UK? Why not take the wrappers off the CDs and sell them as used?

Kev, I'm sure we could work out some sort of arrangement, although I'll be shipping would eat up most of your savings.

0
0

Record industry shoots self in foot again but still doesn't notice

Yet another reason why I've stopped buying CD's and TV series DVD's for that matter. I used to spend roughly 60-100 quid a month on music, and feel quite ripped off when you get home to find out that most of that product is maybe two or three decent tunes per CD padded out with cruft knocked up in the studio over tea break.

It's plainly clear that the 'global market place' is only global if you're the corporates. No wonder these G7/8 type summits attract violent protests, the ballot box is no use when trying to get politicians, who are already in the pockets of the companies, to protect worker and consumer rights.

Recently I wrote an email to Sonos pointing out that even after import duty and VAT and carriage, their UK product still far exceeded the equivalent dollar price. This was their excuse:

Dear Kevin,

First of all thank you for your interest in our product.

As you state correctly there is a price difference between the US and

Europe.

This however is our price policy and is mostly due to the cost of doing

business in Europe. Of course we will always try to improve our product

and its price.

Hope this answers your question, if there is anything else you want to

know please don't hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,

Mark Vellinga

Sonos Europe B.V.

What a load of bollocks, why not let me order their product from their US site, pay in dollars and ship it on a 7-15 day air freight, but no and as is usual with many US companies, you gotta have a US address to complete the order form.

It's all just one big rip off to protect the already fat and greasy corporate bottom line.

Kev

0
0
Anonymous Coward

sickening

when i read about this story in the press i was sickened by the greed

of the BPI. i was also shocked by their strange belief that everything will

be okay if they stop people from buying such product. sorry? what? no.

people will simply stop buying CDs and download the stuff. surely downloading

MP3's from non-UK hosted music providers is thus also illegal? hmmm.

as for international price fixing in the UK. well. when i last upgraded some security software for some PCs, I paid for the product in $US. not ONLY was the price cheaper(!) but then the conversion rate kicked in too! a quarter of the price, the same reg code.

0
0

But Then Again!

But then again , history tells us that all BPI's current action and activities is that they are merely following some of the more seedier aspects and traditions of the infamous John Company , from it's incorporation in 1600 and until it's ultimate dissolution on January 1st , 1874 , due to events of a certain mutinous rabble on it's home turf some seven years earlier!

For they both used and abused their royal charter to enrich their own personal wealth and legalized many aspects of outright piracy in the process to stifle many competitors throughout the Companies long trading history.

In that period of time they made piracy legal because they had a royal charter!

Oh well , those that fail to learn the lessons of history are but doomed to repeat them!

0
0

Parallel trading....

I seem to recall, based on a technicality, that the EU Court of Justice has outlawed what CD-WOW was accused of. The case they ruled on was Ray-Ban sunglasses from Romania, if I remember. So, it is not just in UK that the rule applies. The whole area of so-called parallel imports and sales is a fudge, it is based on the so-called protection provided by trade mark legislation. The case law from the EU is directly contrary to the principles of a common market. The same sort of fudge controls i-pod music sales, with different prices in different places, wrangler jeans and so on....

I am proud to be a customer of CD-WOW and have received excellent value, I'll continue to do so.

Bye, Barry

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.