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CD-Wow found in breach of prior agreement (BBC News)

Old 03-21-07, 10:38 AM
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CD-Wow found in breach of prior agreement (BBC News)

(Mods, feel free to move if this is better suited for another forum)

Did anyone catch this article about CD-Wow? It has always bugged me that there are differences in prices for the same item (CDs and DVDs) in different parts of the world, that have nothing to do with the actual cost of the creation/manufacturing of the items. The laughable part is the mention of an Oasis or Robbie Williams cd being sold for 'as little as' £6.99. $14+ for a CD isn't making the record companies enough profit? I wonder if something similar is in store for their DVD sales. In the case of CDs, though, there was a prior agreement. I haven't heard such a case for DVDs.

I think the last line of the article says it all.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6471863.stm


Judge rules against cheap CD site

Online music store CD-Wow has been found in contempt of court for selling illegally imported cheap CDs in the UK.

The High Court in London ruled that the site's owners, Music Trading Online, were "in substantial breach" of a 2004 agreement to stop selling such albums.

Record companies complained that the site broke a deal not to buy cheap CDs in places like Hong Kong and re-sell them in the UK without permission.

CD-Wow said the judgement "spelled disaster for millions of music fans".

The company will be fined in July after an inquiry into how much it owes the record labels who complained of copyright infringement.

'Warning'

With retail sales of £21.7m in the UK in 2005, CD-Wow was the third largest online music retailer in the UK after Amazon and Play.

The company denied deliberately breaking its 2004 court undertaking and put any breach of copyright down to human error. But the High Court rejected their argument.

The music industry trade body, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), said the ruling sent a warning to other companies that imported CDs from outside Europe.

"The BPI will be using this judgment to ensure that no other company unfairly undermines legitimate retailers in the UK that are trading successfully and respecting the law," BPI lawyer Roz Groome said.

'CD woe'

But CD-Wow, which offers albums by acts like Oasis and Robbie Williams for as little as £6.99, condemned Tuesday's judgement as "CD woe".

The company said the albums in question were bought legitimitely from the record companies themselves overseas.

"At a time when the record industry is losing vast revenue to piracy, it seems ludicrous that they can set out to destroy a section of the market that is actually making them money," said founder Henrik Wesslen.

The Hong Kong-based retailer is now calling for a full review of copyright law that it claims "serves to line the pockets of the music industry at the expense of the consumer".
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Old 03-21-07, 10:43 AM
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that just sucks, cause now I'm going to pay top dollar (English pound) from amazon.co.uk (even though it's still discounted)
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Old 03-21-07, 11:20 AM
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that's crazy. is not like its boots. Sony and universal are still going to get the money whether is from sony or universal japan uk or US. greedy companies always screwing themselves.
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Old 03-21-07, 11:33 AM
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there's something about international law / companies and using UK courts to deal them a blow. remember what happened to lik-sang with sony and the PSP - a product mass-produced, with the safety requirements fully met (and includes a kite mark, as required for UK products to show so) and therefore exactly the same item being sold in every country of the world, yet sony seemed to forget to tell the court this and effectively scuppered lik-sang with legal fees because of it.
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Old 03-21-07, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by logboy
there's something about international law / companies and using UK courts to deal them a blow. remember what happened to lik-sang with sony and the PSP - a product mass-produced, with the safety requirements fully met (and includes a kite mark, as required for UK products to show so) and therefore exactly the same item being sold in every country of the world, yet sony seemed to forget to tell the court this and effectively scuppered lik-sang with legal fees because of it.
Boo hoo.

A company which made it's fortune by selling modchips so that people could pirate video games gets shut down for supposedly breaking trademark rights.

We live in a world with region coding and territorial rights. Do I like that? No. Would I start a company to circumvent that? No. Would I deserve to be shut down if I did? Yes.
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Old 03-21-07, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by logboy
there's something about international law / companies and using UK courts to deal them a blow.
I think this is an EU thing more than a UK thing. Parallel importing within the EU is okay (meaning a distributor can buy a bunch of German CDs and resell them in the UK), but parallel importing from outside the EU (like buying a bunch of Japanese CDs and reselling them in the UK) isn't.
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Old 03-22-07, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Peep
Boo hoo.

A company which made it's fortune by selling modchips so that people could pirate video games gets shut down for supposedly breaking trademark rights.

We live in a world with region coding and territorial rights. Do I like that? No. Would I start a company to circumvent that? No. Would I deserve to be shut down if I did? Yes.

unfortunately, if you have issues with one illegal activity, that's where your court case should be based - not on backdoor issues.
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Old 03-22-07, 12:01 PM
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music CDs are not region coded and that is what the article refers to. thats why this makes even less sense.
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Old 03-23-07, 04:53 PM
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True, music CD are not region-coded, but territorial rights still exist. Region-coding was added to DVD's to help prevent issues like this.
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Old 03-23-07, 11:47 PM
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We got it, Peep!

All this Global Economy and Free Trade stuff is intended for manufacturers/producers to be able to source their products from wherever in the world materials and labor are the cheapest, but not for us consumers to buy from channels other than those designated to get the most off our wallets.

And if there is any etailer who makes it a business to import/export out-of-region items we want or can afford to buy, we better take advantage of it while we can, because that etailer is stupid and really deserves to get shutdown.

Last edited by cine; 03-24-07 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 03-27-07, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by andicus
The laughable part is the mention of an Oasis or Robbie Williams cd being sold for 'as little as' £6.99. $14+ for a CD isn't making the record companies enough profit?
To be fair, you can't base your argument on current U.S. exchange rates. Spending £6.99 to a Brit is not the equivalent of spending $14 for an American. It's more accurate to imagine it as being priced at $6.99. (In other words, you can buy something in the US for $1, and get the same item in the UK for £1. It's just the exchange rate that stinks.)
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Old 03-27-07, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Peep
True, music CD are not region-coded, but territorial rights still exist. Region-coding was added to DVD's to help prevent issues like this.
I wonder how that works with CDs? I always found import CDs and LPs in music stores. Of course, they were usually more expensive than the domestic stuff, but this was for stuff that wasn't available domestically, or the imports had some different content. If they're more expensive it's ok to sell imports in other territories, but if the import is cheaper, it's not ok? Perhaps there are some taxes or tariffs that come into play?

This reminds me of the reason why Japanese album releases often have bonus tracks. It's because the domestic releases are more expensive than imports, so it was a way to compete (Japan has the highest CD prices in the world, but apparently it is ok to sell cheaper imports there).
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Old 03-28-07, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cine
All this Global Economy and Free Trade stuff is intended for manufacturers/producers to be able to source their products from wherever in the world materials and labor are the cheapest, but not for us consumers to buy from channels other than those designated to get the most off our wallets.
Well said.
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Old 03-28-07, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
To be fair, you can't base your argument on current U.S. exchange rates. Spending £6.99 to a Brit is not the equivalent of spending $14 for an American. It's more accurate to imagine it as being priced at $6.99. (In other words, you can buy something in the US for $1, and get the same item in the UK for £1. It's just the exchange rate that stinks.)
I don't see why... The median income in the U.K. is GBR£24,700, while in the U.S. it is $46,000 or almost double. The UK buyer is still paying about the same percentage of their salary per CD as a U.S. buyer paying $14.

The figures above are based on wikipedia numbers.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cultshock
I wonder how that works with CDs? I always found import CDs and LPs in music stores. Of course, they were usually more expensive than the domestic stuff, but this was for stuff that wasn't available domestically, or the imports had some different content. If they're more expensive it's ok to sell imports in other territories, but if the import is cheaper, it's not ok? Perhaps there are some taxes or tariffs that come into play?
It's not any more or less "OK", it's just the sucky way that things are set up. Companies are only going to squawk if cheaper product is imported and they lose sales.
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Old 03-29-07, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cine
We got it, Peep!

All this Global Economy and Free Trade stuff is intended for manufacturers/producers to be able to source their products from wherever in the world materials and labor are the cheapest, but not for us consumers to buy from channels other than those designated to get the most off our wallets.
I agree with what you say, but it gets more complicated with movies (which have drastically different release schedules all over the world). I totally understand why a company may not want to buy the US dist. rights for a Japanese movie if that movie was readily available already on DVD.

As long as companies pay for rights within a certain market, they will want to protect their rights. For most other things, we are free to shop for them all over the world.
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