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UK High Court rules that sales of Japanese PSPs to the region are illegal - expected to follow suit with the PS3

European gamers have been dealt yet another blow by Sony. After being informed that they would have to wait until March 2007 to receive the PS3, followed by being European VP Jamie MacDonald's assertation that they "didn't mind waiting" for the console, the UK High Court has granted Sony a judgement that could set a nasty precedent for those hoping to avoid the wait by buying a PS3 from another country.

The UK High Court has ruled that the online importer Lik-Sang's sales of Japanese versions of the Playstation Portable to the UK and European Economic Area are illegal. While gamers might not fret over this, it does set a rather bold precident for Sony to request a similar ruling preventing the import of their "soon to be released" (in North America and Japan) Playstation3 console. Lik-Sang's marketing manager, Pascal Clarysse, was clearly annoyed by the ruling.

"Fighting multiple lawsuits in different countries at the same time and paying high premiums to expensive lawyers is an overwhelming situation for a small company like Lik-Sang. Launching separate court actions with separate claims and different judges is completely unnecessary, except for the fact that it helps reaching one single target: outspend Lik-Sang to death. 'Pay Beyond.'"

Lik-Sang is currently exploring its legal options; but with this recent ruling against them adding to eBay's tightening restrictions on pre-order sales, European gamers may not see the Playstation3 through any channels until the official launch next spring.

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RE: How is that?
By Aikouka on 10/20/2006 5:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
Madellga, you're looking at it in the opposite direction. You're asking why can't a person buy an object from another country, but that's not what's in question here... we're discussing someone selling an object to another country. The concept is called "exporting" and it's a hot term in the corporate world when it comes to business ethics.

What Sony's trying to say is that Lik-Sang is violating their copyright by taking their product and exporting it to a foreign country where the company has a presence and is not currently distributing their product. It's a really awkward concept and it's kinda dumb to think of it like that, but that's how it works. I don't know how the PSP held up in court though... it's not like Sony necessarily was harmed via loss of proprietary information or possibly even monetarily. They just want to grab the market by the "balls" (excuse my crude metaphorical statement).

RE: How is that?
By Madellga on 10/20/2006 5:35:19 PM , Rating: 5
You're correct.
I still think it would be a problem if the product would be a fake, copy or pirate version. If it is the original product, why should the court care? What about competition? Free market?

Or is it because they sell the console (let's say) for 200 pounds in UK, but imported from another country including taxes would cost (let's say)'s then a question of price (and profit), not cost.

The court should be looking into the consumer rights, why should we be ripped off? Why should we buy for more when it costs less on other countries?

Why a monitor X (Dell for example) costs 800 dollars in US, 1000 pounds in UK and 1000 euros in Europe?
A customer in UK could import it, pay its taxes and have spare money. They all come from the same place, why the difference? I know the companies are not doing charity, but why not a Global Price if the cost is the same?

RE: How is that?
By BZDTemp on 10/21/2006 8:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
As for monitors there are specific reasons for the price difference. There is a EU tax on flat screens from outside the EU set up to protect regional production (and jobs).

Also when you compare prices you never see the US sales tax as it depends on which state in the US you are in and it's therefore added at ordering time.

Still prices are higher in the EU but so are wages. The guys doing the handling and all of the stuff you buy proberly earn double of what the people in the US does if not more. That reflects on the price you pay.

RE: How is that?
By Madellga on 10/21/2006 2:08:48 PM , Rating: 4
3 years ago, I needed a new laptop. It was 1000 dollars cheaper in US than in Europe. I have a friend living in Boston (works at MIT). So I bought a ticket for 400 dollars (FRA-BOS-FRA) with Lufthansa, spent the weekend with my friend, bought a Toshiba laptop at local Compusa and came back home. Savings? 500 dollars, plus the joy of spending a weekend in Boston (and collected some milleage).

Manpower is more expensive in Europe, but that accounts for less than 5% of a manufactured product cost. That and sales taxes don't explain the difference.

Crucial sells RAM sticks exactly for the same price in US, UK and Europe mainland. They just use the exchange rate and different sales taxes. The others could do the same.

Dell hardware are made in Ireland or Eastern Europe (cheaper manpower), components como from China. In US, they probably come from Mexico. That still does not account for the huge price difference.

RE: How is that?
By Lord Evermore on 10/21/2006 4:35:06 AM , Rating: 3
If the copyright infringement is actually occurring in Japan, where they do the exporting, but importing into the UK isn't illegal, then how does a UK judge determine that they have to stop doing it?

Two towns side by side, A and B. It's illegal in town B to sell product X outside of town B. In town A, it's legal to buy product X from other towns. Somebody in A buys X from a seller in B. Judge in A tells the seller in B that he has to stop selling?

Are the basing it on the principle of tattling? Sony tells on Lik-Sang to all the other countries, instead of taking it to a Japanese court and just stopping the exporting cold, and the UK says "you can't sell to our citizens because you aren't allowed to sell them at all"?

RE: How is that?
By Madellga on 10/21/2006 2:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
I know that in some countries, Sony has a price list and it is forbidden for the retailers to give a discount.

If they are caught, the consequences are:
1) Allocation is lost
2) They get kicked and cannot sell Sony in the future.

I experienced that first hand years ago, when I wanted to buy a Sony TV and after researching, all street stores had the same price. I asked all about a discount, which was denied in all stores. One store manager told me why (the explanation above). I was finally able to find a store willing to give a discount (15%), but I was asked not to "spread" the good news....

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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