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They say it was done solely for "educational purposes"

In the latest episode of the Lik-Sang Saga, Sony admits that its senior staff bought PSPs from what are now deemed illegal sources, reports the BBC.

The UK High Court ruled last week that gaming e-tailer Lik-Sang's importation of Japanese PSPs to the UK and European Economic Area as illegal, citing that Japanese units were not certified to European safety standards. Sony then took legal action against Lik-Sang, which purportedly caused the e-tailer to shutdown.

Lik-Sang subsequently posted a notice on its Web site explaining the reason behind its closure, plus naming several Sony directors who illegally imported PSP units through the site.

Sony responded by denying any direct involvement in the shutdown of Lik-Sang while expressing its surprise that the e-tailer would reveal the specific names of its customers.

Sony admits its directors have bought PSPs from Lik-Sang, but are defending their actions by saying they the products were bought in order to check the nature of the goods that were being sold.

According to the BBC, the latest development in the grey-market crackdown is that a British judge ruled that it is illegal for the firm to import the Japanese version of PlayStation 3s into Europe ahead of its official release in March 2007.

The European gaming population will face more challenges than ever in importing Sony hardware. Sony, however, believes European gamers to be a patient bunch.



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Huh?
By hannons on 10/27/2006 10:35:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
citing that Japanese units were not certified to European safety standards.


This almost implies that Japanese buyers are getting substandard and/or dangerous products.

Hey Sony:
More sales = more profit.




RE: Huh?
By nomagic on 10/27/2006 10:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
I am saying that "I know it all." However, this is how I would interpret it:

"The Japanese units were not certified to European..."

Despite being "non-certified," it could still adhere to the European safety standards. In other words, dangerous goods (i.e. Sony battery) can be certified as long as the European safety authority says so, while "safe" goods are not always certified.

This is just an excuse that Sony use to shut the business down.


RE: Huh?
By othercents on 10/27/2006 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 5
Actually the problem is with the power adapter. The power adapter is not certified to work in Europe and will not work properly unless you purchase a converter. Europe actually has some strict guidelines about products that are sold there.

Other


RE: Huh?
By therealnickdanger on 10/27/2006 11:53:23 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, aren't the plugs different anyway? You would have to buy a converter to even turn it on in Europe regardless, thus making their argument null. This is all a front for Sony to shut down a business that they can't control. Heaven forbid a customer in an excluded market gets a product it wants without Sony's blessing.


RE: Huh?
By ATWindsor on 10/27/2006 12:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
"According to the BBC, the latest development in the grey-market crackdown is that a British judge ruled that it is illegal for the firm to import the Japanese version of PlayStation 3s into Europe ahead of its official release in March 2007."

Does that mean that the Jap PS3 is unsafe to use in europe now, but suddenly gets safe to use in march?

AtW


RE: Huh?
By dug777 on 10/27/06, Rating: -1
RE: Huh?
By Belegost on 10/27/2006 2:26:47 PM , Rating: 3
Wrong. In 1998 the US Supreme Court ruled that US copyright law does not prevent a US consumer from purchasing materials from overseas at lower cost than they are being sold domestically (of course, I doubt they also care if the consumer pays more.) Understandably the textbook companies were a bit annoyed, and now are trying to pressure the governments of countries getting low cost books (India and China high on the list) to put a stop to companies selling them for import by threatening to stop making recent material available.

So rest assured that it is completely legal to purchase/sell those textbooks in the US. Admittedly the UK is allowed to have different laws, but also people should be allowed to complain when the laws are bad.

As for the power issues ... a) People travel, they take electronics with them, for this reason power conversion devices exist. b) Almost every reasonable quality (so maybe not Sony) AC-DC power supply made today is designed to work with everything from 100-240v on 50 or 60Hz - it's honestly not more difficult engineering-wise to do so, and it allows the company to save money by making one design that works everywhere. The only thing that it may fail to have is the EU safety compliance sticker on it, though almost certainly it's identical to a unit sold in Europe that does have the sticker.


RE: Huh?
By Christopher1 on 10/28/2006 2:40:58 AM , Rating: 1
From what I have read the ONLY difference is that the software for the PSP is in Japanese, and that the thing doesn't have an EU safety compliance sticker on it.

If we were to go to the logical extension of the court's ruling, then flying to Japan and bringing back a PSP that you bought there would ALSO be illegal.

That stomps on the right of customers to buy goods in other countries and bring them home as they wish (I.E. I can buy any Japanese video games and bring them home to the US if I go to Japan and even if I don't, through resellers like HimeyaSoft).


RE: Huh?
By deeznuts on 10/27/2006 1:31:12 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
LOL, aren't the plugs different anyway? You would have to buy a converter to even turn it on in Europe regardless, thus making their argument null.


That's the point. The plugs don't come with the PSP. Therefore, the PSP does not meet European safety standards AS SOLD. I don't see how this is hard to understand. I've seen plugs sold that have like 4 different voltages to choose from and several plugs. What if a consumer plugs in the adapter with the wrong voltage selected? Hmmmm? Their argument is not null, but totally valid.

Also, not meeting safety standards doesn't mean the Japan has less safety standards. It could just mean different. Different and less are not the same. It could be that European products don't meet Japan safety standards (I'm not saying that's true, it's just for arguments sake)


RE: Huh?
By Xavian on 10/27/2006 2:33:12 PM , Rating: 3
as far as I'm aware PSP's don't run on 110v or even 240v, they run on 12v via converters, this means even if the converter accepted only 110v (and not 110v-240v like most converters do) AND if someone managed to plug it in, only the converter would burn out and not the PSP (its battery) itself.

So i fail to see how any saftey concerns can arise from this.

of course as we all know, this is simply an excuse to shut-down uncontrolled sales of sony products. But im more worried about how the judge got fooled into believing this.


RE: Huh?
By 91TTZ on 12/4/2006 4:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
The adapters auto-sense the voltage. You don't need to worry about manually switching anything at all. If you look at any universal adapter (sold with most electronics these days), you'll see that its says "voltage: 110-240v, 50-60hz". If you plug it in the wall in the US, it'll work. If you hook it up to an prong adapter in England and try it, it'll work.

Also, they're usually already certified for use in Europe. I bet it's already CE approved.


RE: Huh?
By dwalton on 10/27/2006 1:10:17 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't about certification or safety.

This is a about Sony not wanting to compete with third party vendors in selling it's own product in such a lucrative market.

Europe is the only major market that Sony can s@#t on with delays after delays and jack up PS3 price and yet sell millions upon millions. Sony can't count on brand loyalty when competing against Lik-Sang, so Sony brings out safety and certification as a way to reduce PS3 competition.

Thats what Sony's brand loyalty buys European gamers.


RE: Huh?
By BladeVenom on 10/27/2006 3:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft or Nintendo should have bought the site, to sell their consoles.


WTF!!
By Chadder007 on 10/27/2006 10:46:08 AM , Rating: 2
WTF is wrong with Sony?? Seriously, WTF is going on with them lately. Its just laughable what has been going on, and what is so wrong with a company trying to sell their product overseas? All of the money from the sales is still going back to Sony correct?




RE: WTF!!
By WhiteBoyFunk on 10/27/2006 10:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
I think with respect to economics in this situation, the immediate profit was already made when Sony sold the units to Lik-Sang or whomever. Indirect profits are always made from products, yes, so Sony will still reap profits after they have already sold the units. But directly - they already made their money.


RE: WTF!!
By h0kiez on 10/27/2006 1:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
That's got to be the dumbest argument I've ever heard. Guess what Lik-Sang was going to do after they sold all the PSPs in their inventory...uh...buy some more. By your argument, Sony should just try to shut down Best Buy after they ship them some PSPs since they've already made their profit.


RE: WTF!!
By M45t3rC0ntr01 on 10/31/2006 4:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
If Sony's illegally importing PSPs, and they say it's to find out if they're safe, why fire a lawsuit at Lik-Sang, a company with a huge disadvantage? First the Li-ion battery incident, then the PS3 problem, and now this!

I say they're dragging their name into mud.

If all else fails, let them fail themselves.


RE: WTF!!
By JazzMang on 10/27/2006 12:09:02 PM , Rating: 1
Sony will burn in the ring of fire.


Misleading title
By peternelson on 10/28/2006 2:06:46 PM , Rating: 4
The article title is incorrect. It says "sony directors admit they illegally imported". I don't think Sony directors did anything illegal in this situation. Sony admits they bought goods NOT that they did anything illegally. It is Lik-Sang whose exporting to them that was illegal.

When I worked for a telco my boss a director personally ordered mobile phones, so that she could see what a mess was being made of customer deliveries: delays, wrong product, wrong accessories, billing errors. I think it's reasonable for Sony bosses to do similar.

If they did it to find out what was being shipped that was not illegal and even if they did it because internal supplies were lacking, it was still not illegal.

It may be that in the early days some staff bought imports because of short supplies of PSP in their jurisdiction and to gain access to real hardware. That would indicate that Sony had not got internal distribution satisfactory, but still would not be illegal on their part.

However, the retailer/exporter was likely committing an offence.

I'm in the UK and European certifications can vary depending on product. A manufacturer can just stick "CE" sign on some product if they assert it meets all applicable regulations. However for electrical products such as playstation many apply. eg Low Voltage directive, RFI emissions (our equivalent of the USA FCC regulations), which incur testing charges.

The UK product could be identical to the Japan one, OR it might have toroidial cores fitted to cables to keep RF emissions down to European levels. Or other differences.

Now, let's consider the UK. Here it is illegal for a second hand goods store to sell electrical equipment eg a kettle, unless it has been tested (many may have to do eg simple PAT test) for electrical safety. The RETAILER is the criminal if selling unsafe (or untested) goods for use by the customer here.

So Lik Sang was probably breaching those kind of laws on retailing safety. They were exporting the product FOR USE in the UK. This specific model ie japanese as supplied was not certified safe for use in our jurisdiction by the manufacturer. Therefore it could be considered unsafe even with a different psu.

It is NOT an offence to be the customer ie to BUY a product like this, it is the seller who commits the offence. Incidentally, such rules don't apply to consumer to consumer or business to business sales (where the buyer takes on the risk).

It's down to consumer protection legislation that someone RETAILING goods needs to be selling safe goods for the purpose intended.

In this case, I don't think genuine safety has much to do with it, but that is the laws we have.

Sony directors or anyone else is free to buy (although maybe foolish to then use it). Lik-Sang was technically breaking those laws. If I flew to Japan and bought it there for bringing back I would not be breaking those laws since I am not a retailer.

Even Lik-Sang they were not, I believe there are precedents in trademark laws. eg Levis jeans are usually expensive in the UK through official channels. Then Asda (owned by Walmart) started selling Levis at much reduced prices that they bought in other territories. Levis complained and courts ruled that Asda had to stop because it was in breach of Levis trademark here to control their distribution.

By similar rules, it is Sony who has the right in the UK to decide what Sony stuff gets sold in our market if they choose to. As consumers we can go elsewhere and buy our stuff, but I think in law Sony has some trademark rights that Lik-Sang were breaching.

So Sony had at least 2 grounds to sue Lik-Sang and likely win in court.

Some of the comments to this story seem to be based on incorrect understanding of Europe so I am just trying to say what I think to balance that.

In theory there should be transparency actually within the European Union. Aside from tax variations, flow of goods WITHIN Europe is quite free (but they have to be CE approved goods).

Of course there has long been a "grey import" market for particular products, including processors.

Of course with UK prices for many things being near double the price that currency difference would indicate, it's what many people here dub "rip-off Britain". I would welcome the narrowing of such differences. eg if I could get a PS3 for $600 equivalent in UK money that would be a bargain.




RE: Misleading title
By Dactyl on 10/28/2006 9:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
If it was a crime to import them...

Then Sony officials knowingly paid Lik-Sang to commit a crime


RE: Misleading title
By jasondefaoite on 10/29/2006 3:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm in the UK and European certifications can vary depending on product. A manufacturer can just stick "CE" sign on some product if they assert it meets all applicable regulations. However for electrical products such as playstation many apply. eg Low Voltage directive, RFI emissions (our equivalent of the USA FCC regulations), which incur testing charges.

The UK product could be identical to the Japan one, OR it might have toroidial cores fitted to cables to keep RF emissions down to European levels. Or other differences.


Almost correct. The RF emission levels for Information Technology equipment is regulated by EN55022 in Europe. The limits for those emissions are identical to that required in Japan (VCCI).

The BIG difference in the EU for EMC is not emissions, but immunity. There are many tests required based off EN55024 which are only required in Europe. The USA and Japan have no such requirements.

It is very possible the US/Japan units could have EMC components required for those immunity tests removed, depending on if they are board level fixes or something external (ferrite core on a cable for instance).

Some of those immunity tests are Electro Static dischage, Radiated and Conducted Immunity, and Fast Transients. These are not even needed to market a product in Japan/US


Interesting
By othercents on 10/27/2006 10:17:24 AM , Rating: 2
Sony Manufacturers PSP, Lik-Sang imports PSP to Europe, Sony buys PSP from Lik-Sang, Sony sues Lik-Sang for selling PSP to Sony. If Sony never buys a PSP from Lik-Sang there wouldn't have been a market for Lik-Sang to sell too.

Yeah it is flawed, but so what. Sony is already on the hot plate.

Other




RE: Interesting
By WhiteBoyFunk on 10/27/2006 10:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely. It does seem a little bass-ackwards, doesn't it?


Sony
By dstroope on 10/27/2006 1:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
I love the complaining and higher then though standards that go on in here.

Every country has electrical ratings, ours in the US are the UL, EU is CE, Canada has something that I can recall off hand. It's a matter of getting something certified and stamped. A fee to pay and off you go. The same product can be sold universally, but if you don't have to pay for the UL/CE stamp on everyone, it makes for a cost savings...

quite simple actually.




RE: Sony
By kruege311 on 10/27/2006 3:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
"...ours in the US are the UL, EU is CE, Canada has something that I can't recall off hand"

I believe theirs is "EH"...as in, we've got some good electricity here, eh?

Sorry, shameless plug for a Canada joke, I know. :)


I believe
By lemonadesoda on 10/27/2006 6:16:52 PM , Rating: 3
I believe that a company should be able to protect its intellectual property. And I do believe that a company's directors should do whatever they can do to protect the interests of the company (and shareholders) they represent.

But I also believe in a free market, WITHOUT import/export/trade restrictions that serve the sole purpose of protecting an individual's, or group's, private interests AT THE COST of the consumer.

I don't like a corporate or legal system where the biggest players can steamroller smaller companies, irrespective of the "rights and wrongs" or validity of the case. And extortion of the individual or a whole country is wrong, no matter whether "mobbed" or legislated.

I believe in competition, disintermediation, and allowing the market to arbitrage. I worship new ideas and innovation but I condemn protectionism.

Anyone agree?




RE: I believe
By Christopher1 on 10/28/2006 2:48:55 AM , Rating: 1
I believe that is EXACTLY what Sony was doing, steamrollering a smaller company.

Frankly, every country should be able to import anything into that country, as long as it is EXPLICITELY illegal because the PRODUCT is illegal. Not because it is just the "japanese" version or the "american version".

Only if ALL of that products various incarnations are illegal to be imported into the country.

This is a case where free market economy should have been protected, by allowing people who KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING, to import the Japanese version of the PSP and PS3.
The test for if you know what you are doing, is simple. That you go to the company and request them to ship you a japanese or other country PSP or PS3.


Who's Next?
By Assimilator87 on 10/27/2006 11:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
What's Sony doing about the other major importers such as NCSX and Play-Asia?




RE: Who's Next?
By M45t3rC0ntr01 on 10/31/2006 4:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
Probably trying to destroy them all too.

Very predictable, and very probable.


zomg sony
By exdeath on 10/27/2006 10:33:40 AM , Rating: 1
They are just pissed because they can't get all the mod chip makers so they are lashing out at any unlicensed 3rd party they can in frustration.




RE: zomg sony
By sscilli on 10/30/2006 12:46:23 AM , Rating: 2
Complete BS! So I'm not allowed to import electronics from another country because it's a safety hazaard....please!! I don't even see the harm in importing PSP's. Lik-Sang buy's PSP's, which generates revenue for sony, than Lik-Sang sells them like any other retailer. The only difference it that Lik-Sang is an international retailer. It's not like the majority of potential PSP owners, or PS3 for that matter, are going to import their consoles. So does sony want consumers to be doublely compensated for people not buying their product on their terms. Shame on you sony!! As much as I want a PS3 I don't know if I want to give you any money, maybe I'll import it.


Sony hit bottom
By viperpa on 10/27/2006 1:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
I already knew what Sony said originally was bull. That the directors bought the PSP to check the legality of the product. Sony already has a separate division for that. Some companies it would be called loss and prevention and others would call it something else. Sony wouldn't get directors to do that, they have there own special people to do that.

First it was the root kit issue, the battery issue and now this. Sony has turned into a crappy company in a very short time.




Apolgy
By crystal clear on 10/27/2006 7:21:05 PM , Rating: 2
"Sony admits its directors have bought PSPs from Lik-Sang, but are defending their actions by saying they the products were bought in order to check the nature of the goods that were being sold."

Sony directors should apologize like they did with regards to Sony batteries & apologize the Japanese way - standing.

There is no point finding some excuses to hide behind & justify their actions.These excuses dont do any good as
people dont believe them.
Its like a somebody caught breakin into bank safedeposit
vaults,& when questioned he says "HEY I WAS JUST CHECKING
THE QUALITY OF THE VAULTS"

Come on just say YES I DID IT & I AM SORRY-SIMPLE as that.




Hmmm...
By fyahman on 10/28/2006 9:21:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sony admits its directors have bought PSPs from Lik-Sang, but are defending their actions by saying they the products were bought in order to check the nature of the goods that were being sold.


What i find funny is that Sony is saying that their directors purchased the PSPs check the nature of goods that were being sold. So in order to catch something "illegal" they do something "illegal". Why not get the proper authorities involved rather than playing vigilante..two wrongs dont make a right Sony...grow up plzzz.




By Burning Bridges on 10/27/2006 12:52:27 PM , Rating: 5
Sony sued Lik-Sang in just about every European country, regardles of whether or not they had a case, that is a move almost guaranteed to put a company out of buisness -

Lik-Sang doesn't have the money to hire competent lawyers for every country and language they where sued in, and to send its people from one hearing to the next to the next.

Basically Sony forced them to close, as they didn't have the resources to fight all the lawsuits. So, yeah, rightly or wrongly, depending on your view, Sony used its money advantage to put Lik-Sang out of buisness.


By jkresh on 10/27/2006 12:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes Lik-Sang a fairly small Hong Kong based company failed to defend a law suit in England the results of which meant that in England (and ultimately most of the EU) they could no longer do business (as their business is based on imports.) It is likely the legal fees would have bankrupted them anyway so they thought it was better to just quit while they still had some profits. While I dot quite understand them shutting down as a large part of their sales go to the US, what Sony did was definitely a large factor in them shutting down and who have at the very least dramatically impacted their business.


By Burning Bridges on 10/27/2006 1:41:15 PM , Rating: 3
Sony effectively gave Lik Sang two choices: to fight back and go bankrupt due to legal fees or to close and keep whatever profit they had.

I don't really see that as being afforded every opportunity to defend itself as a company.


By Burning Bridges on 10/27/2006 2:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Lik Sang could not afford to fight the cases to conclusion, so they wouldn't make it far enough to be able to claim costs.

Sony didn't give them any choice but to cease trading.

Since you have all the answers, what would you have done if you where Lik Sang?


By Christopher1 on 10/28/2006 2:43:36 AM , Rating: 1
Excuse me, but Lik-Sang makes about 1 million dollars a year in profit, if that. Sony makes over 20 BILLION dollars in profit a year.

Yeah, I think that they couldn't afford to fight the case!
That has to be one of the STUPIDEST things that I have ever heard, that their claims weren't true.

The facts are that when a large corporation like Microsoft or Sony sues you, you have two options: 1. Leave the country, or 2. Settle.

Fighting it is NOT really an option for most businesses or regular people.


By M45t3rC0ntr01 on 10/31/2006 4:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Excuse me, but Lik-Sang makes about 1 million dollars a year in profit, if that. Sony makes over 20 BILLION dollars in profit a year.


EXACTLY!

quote:
What really makes me laugh is that you think Sony killed Lik-Sang


Basically, with their 19-billion-dollar money advantage, they did! Why do you think everybody said that?

And as for not affording to fight the case...
now, it explains itself.


By aceizace on 11/2/2006 2:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Dug777 I think what Lik-Sang did is perfectly legal in Hong Kong (which is, after all, where the company is based) ;)

I'm no expert of law, but I am English, and (I think) the reason this went to a judge was to determine whether it was illegal or not, not to determine whether Lik-Sang did it or not (because you can quite clearly go on to their website and order a PSP). So if I were you I wouldn't be so certain what they did was illegal, even under UK law. If Lik-Sang could afford the same kind of legal team that Sony can they maybe they would have been able to defend against Sony's claim and convince the Judge otherwise.

Sony are saying that they didn't take so much money from Lik-Sang that they had to bankrupt, I don't dispute it, what we're saying is that if Lik-Sang HAD paid the legal costs etc then it WOULD have bankrupted them because they wouldn't be able to win, so they had to shut down instead. It's still Sony's fault.

If you're still not convinced ask yourself this, if Sony had ignored Lik-Sang would they have shut down? No. So yes, Sony killed Lik-Sang. Whether think they were right or not, Sony killed them.


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