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Sony's Win a Major Blow for Importers 200

Posted by Zonk
from the free-commerce-with-exceptions dept.
Joan Cross writes "Sony won a battle in the UK Courts over the importing to Europe of Playstation Portables by Lik Sang. They say that 'Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera'. Of course, the PSP comes supplied with a 100-240v adapter which is safe worldwide. Lik Sang has posted their reaction to the court decision. Could be bad news for those wanting PS3 Consoles on import."
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Sony's Win a Major Blow for Importers

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  • Riiiiiight (Score:5, Funny)

    by KU_Fletch (678324) <`bthomas1' `at' `ku.edu'> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:27PM (#16530755)
    Because when I think Sony, I think consumer protection.
  • Fixed it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kattspya (994189) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:31PM (#16530783)
    There seem to be a small error in the summary so I fixed it.

    'Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that is cheaper than what can be bought locally'
    • by Nazmun (590998)
      At least when you look from the perspective as a U.S. citizen. Locally bought consoles were always cheaper then having them shipped from overseas.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Ah but this europe. In particular the UK the dollar is very weak at the moment I get nearly 2 USD for 1 GBP when I import DVDs from the states, other countries vary but generally providing you manage to bypass import duty & VAT* you can save a great deal of money.

        Unfortunately thats why the R2 UK anime market is so feeble - it is a lot cheaper to buy R1 DVDs which often are released months (years) earlier.

        [*] = Very random depend on the customs - sometimes stuff over the threshold will get through untax
      • As a heads up ... in the UK you can usually guess a products price by using the dollar price. Effectively we're paying nearly twice as much as in the US. And we usually wait about 6 months longer to have a product available.

        Doesn't matter to me. I can only afford one meal a day anyway.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AndroidCat (229562)
      The game console industry always has interesting business models [vgcats.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      That's not true either. Import hardware is more expensive. What they're trying to do is stop people from being able to play games that are sold out of their region. This is related to the same issue in DVD-land, and basically it has to do with legal price-fixing. It's legal for them to set arbitrary prices in different countries, for effectively the same product. I mean a lot of DVDs are for example sold in English, French, and Spanish. There's nations with those languages in a variety of regions so they ge
  • by budword (680846) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:36PM (#16530833)
    Don't like it ? Vote with your wallet, don't buy one.
    • by tehwebguy (860335) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:44PM (#16530905) Homepage
      indeed. i'm sure there is another, less expensive system for mii
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        indeed. i'm sure there is another, less expensive system for mii

        Hey, did you read the news at all?

        "Jokes incorporating puns on the trademark 'Wii' were outlawed in EU and USA yesterday, effective immediately. The decision was taken with in a record amount of time, after public outrage and pressure on the US senators and EU deputies from their local electorate. From now, this action will be punishable with jail time from 2 to 5 years, depending on the size and severity of the offence".

        Hahah, I'll visit you i
    • by patrixmyth (167599) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:53PM (#16530953)
      If they don't like my ability to sell something I've bought to someone else, and buy similarly, then I have a simple solution for them. They can vote with their products and not sell them.
    • by SydShamino (547793) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:01PM (#16531027)
      Isn't that usually the Slashdot libertarian response to a company doing something some folks don't like? I don't see how that applies when "Sony Uses Government to Restrict Free Trade" is the subject.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Sony Uses Government to Restrict Free Trade" is the subject.

        That's not a very honest representation of what's happening here. The EU has rules in place whereby electronic consumer goods have to be certified for safety, non-interference etc. Other major jurisdictions have similar rules, but different for each jurisdiction. Sony themselves have to meet the legal standards before they can import their products to the EU. Shouting 'foul' when someone else tries to bypass those requirements is not unreasonable.

        • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:41PM (#16532127)
          Sony themselves have to meet the legal standards before they can import their products to the EU. Shouting 'foul' when someone else tries to bypass those requirements is not unreasonable.

          WTF?!

          Sony and Lik Sang are both trying to sell exactly the same damn thing -- PSPs. If the ones sold directly (by Sony) meet the requirements, then the ones sold through a middleman (Lik Sang) do too!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Tim C (15259)
            Sony and Lik Sang are both trying to sell exactly the same damn thing

            From TFA:

            In his ruling yesterday, Judge Michael Fysh found that Lik-Sang - which offered Japanese PSPs to European consumers via its website - was in breach of intellectual property rights.

            Are the European and Japanese PSPs "exactly the same damn thing"? Right down to power adaptor, etc? (Honest question, I have zero interest in the PSP so I don't know) If not, then they're not the same thing, and it's possible that they may not meet the s
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by jamar0303 (896820)
              Yes, Euro PSPs and JP PSPs are exactly the same (right down to the 100-240V power adapter). Although possibly it's because the JP PSP isn't certified for Europe (for example, my VAIO bought from Japan has no FCC or European certification, only Japanese VCCI certification even though it's exactly the same as its US counterpart) because Sony didn't think about selling it outside Japan. It's sad that Lik-Sang can't sell PSPs in Europe anymore just because Sony made up some excuse (they profit a lot more off of
        • by Znork (31774)
          "Sony themselves have to meet the legal standards before they can import their products to the EU."

          So do parallel importers; that argument is a strawman.
        • You are kidding yourself if you think even for one second that the versions of the PSP and PS3 Sony releases in the US have not met CE requirements for European distribution. If I had a US PSP, I would even find and point out the CE logo to you - it would cost them more money to tool up two different versions of the exterior plastic, one with the CE logo and one without, than it would cost them to just test and meet all the products the same way.

          Sony's actions are just another attempt for big business to e
    • by rolfwind (528248)
      The judge found:

      In his ruling yesterday, Judge Michael Fysh found that Lik-Sang - which offered Japanese PSPs to European consumers via its website - was in breach of intellectual property rights.

      I'm not buying Sony anyway, but how would I (as the US is going in the same direction) change things here? I wish I could "vote with my wallet" on politicians and their policies, but the IRS does not take kindly to the most effective way of doing that. The best I can do is support other politicians, most of whom

    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:07PM (#16531487)
      Don't like it ? Vote with your wallet, don't buy one.

      This is how it's supposed to work right.

      Let me tell you how it really works: you vote with your wallet as an example citizen and don't buy one. For every single one like you, there's 100 guys/girls who are either PSP junkies, just don't care, just don't know, or whatever, so they'll buy one.

      End result: Sony will never feel your vote, and you don't have a PSP.

      Yea, it's sad like that, but... after all, this is the main principle of capitalism: the market decides. And it comprises of all people, not just Sony haters.
      • by Grym (725290) * on Saturday October 21, 2006 @08:00PM (#16532657)

        But marketshare is everything. On what do you think those 1% of potential buyers who are upset with Sony's business practices are going to spend their money? Probably a Wii or Xbox 360.

        Furthemore, ask yourself, who is the type of person that is going to care so much as to take a stand like you describe? Knowledgeable people, which others probably look to for buying advice. Sure the beancounters may think they're maximizng profit by screwing over 1% of their custmoers, but what if that 1% are game reviewers, gamestore clerks, vocal bloggers, or just helpful friends of casual gamers?

        It's easy to just throw up your hands in despair when it coems to things like this, but the fact is: everything you do matters--even if you never realize just how. If it means that much to you and you think you're right, take a stand. You never know what might happen.

        -Grym

        • by brkello (642429)
          You are confusing people on Slashdot with "knowledgeable" people. Just because everyone on here is going to buy a Wii and hates Sony...doesn't make it a reality for the rest of the world.
    • Voting with your wallet is exactly what the companies have convinced the government to restrict. They're intentionally segmenting the market, allowing them to price discriminate upon ability to pay. You've got the money, so you should pay a lot more. In this case, more than what would be charged if someone bought it somewhere else, and sold it again in your territory at a profit for them. A free market restricts this sort of gouging to reasonable levels, but an artificially segmented market, especially
  • Globalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:37PM (#16530847)
    This is another side to globalization. As the world as a whole becomes more interconnected thanks to the internet and cheap international shipping, the marketting notion of making products available in different contries at different times is not going to hold up.

    It's the same issue you already see DVD region encoding, and with digital music services: people complaining about albums being available in some countries and not others when everyone is getting their tunes from a server on the Internet.

    In the future corporations are going to need to stop thinking they can easily dictate the geographical spread of their goods and start thinking of their product launches as a worldwide event. The entertainment industries need to stop setting up distribution deals for invidual regions and make their deals for global availablity. If they don't they will only see their products pasisng through black-market channels and piracy rings more readily instead of generating more revenue for them.
    • Re:Globalization (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cederic (9623) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:04PM (#16531059) Journal

      It's not the time difference that gets me. It's the difference in price.

      I have to compete directly for jobs with people in India, China, Eastern Europe and anywhere else you can outsource IT to. This impacts the amount I can earn, and my chances of getting a job in the first place.

      However, I am forced by EU/UK law to pay a higher price for goods, as demonstrated by this court case.

      Frankly this pisses me off. I'm getting fucked over both ways.
      • Re:Globalization (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#16531385)
        "Frankly this pisses me off. I'm getting fucked over both ways."

        Yup, except it's a 4-way, not a 3-way. Globalization ultimately works around nation governments too; thus, there is little effective oversight on the international level to force fair play on multi-national interests.

        For example, there are no international anti-trust or price fixing laws that I'm aware of. This has a signficant effect on pricing as well as penetration (pun not intended), such as allowing established industries (e.g. RIAA and MPAA) to charge emerging markets far less for their products. Meanwhile, established markets pay full price, or artificially higher than what would normally be decided by the market (due to intellectual propery laws i.e. patents, copyright). This is why we see can see the same exact products being sold in the US, Mexico, and China go for far far less in the last 2 countries. US and EU college students see this with book pricing. MS OS pricing in Asia indicates this as well.

        iow, in some ways, you are essentially subsidizing what amounts to a product loss leader to establish a brand in up and coming markets. In other ways, you are denying fair competition on those emerging markets when they should be protected; those poorer nations have little choice but to abide due to pressure from wealthier nations. (And I believe this is somewhat similar to one of the arguments made against the $100 PC.)

        Conversely, those same laws can be used to deny products in those poorer countries as well. In doesn't make logical sense until you realize that companies don't want this importing to occur back to wealthier countries they are established in (see certain aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, although I think they have a fairer policy than the copyright industry groups).
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pafrusurewa (524731)

          This is why we see can see the same exact products being sold in the US, Mexico, and China go for far far less in the last 2 countries. US and EU college students see this with book pricing.

          I think you mean "US and UK college students". I'm in the EU and we don't really have a university textbook industry here. Most of the time professors will provide their own comprehensive and inexpensive scripts which are updated every year or they'll just post their material online. Some people recommend books but not

        • by mpe (36238)
          Conversely, those same laws can be used to deny products in those poorer countries as well. In doesn't make logical sense until you realize that companies don't want this importing to occur back to wealthier countries they are established in (see certain aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, although I think they have a fairer policy than the copyright industry groups).

          The pharmaceutical industry can be just a strange. e.g. working hard to protect US Citizens from their Canadian and German products...
    • by Fred_A (10934)
      You don't get this globalization thing at all. The point of globalization is to help corporate profit, not consumer savings. Nobody cares about consumers. Their purpose is to carry their money from the bank, where they cash they paychecks, to the store where they spend it. They're just some sort of nuisance nobody has managed to do without so far.
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        The point of globalization is to help corporate profit, not consumer savings. Nobody cares about consumers.

        Globalization isn't a business plan, its a concept. A relationship concept. Corporations have always been rah-rah about globalization because they just looked at it as "wider audience for goods = larger customer base = more profit". My point is they can't protray themselves as a "company to the world" and then get pissy when people start trading their products across the world as well. It's just doesn'

        • by Fred_A (10934)
          I think you're confusing the globalization marketing blurb with the reality of it. ;)
    • Re:Globalization (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mpe (36238) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @05:15AM (#16535030)
      This is another side to globalization. As the world as a whole becomes more interconnected thanks to the internet and cheap international shipping, the marketting notion of making products available in different contries at different times is not going to hold up.

      It's not holding up very well now. Interestingly it's often the same multinational corporations who are pro "globalization" and "free trade" when it means they can pick and choose the cheapest places of the planet to manufacture who kick up the most fuss (typically in the courts) when their customers (both individuals and retail companies) try and do something similar.

      In the future corporations are going to need to stop thinking they can easily dictate the geographical spread of their goods and start thinking of their product launches as a worldwide event. The entertainment industries need to stop setting up distribution deals for invidual regions and make their deals for global availablity.

      When it comes to movies and TV/radio the regional distribution model has actually been dead for quite some time. Sometimes TV programmes have even been available "by other means" before their broadcast. Even if this dosn't happen they will be available within a short time of their initial broadcast.
      People are not going to wait weeks, months (even years) to watch, effectivly any wait longer than 48 hours encourages "piracy". When it comes to speedy global distribution things are in some cases worst than they were a quarter of a century ago, dispite advances in communications technology.
    • by Znork (31774)
      "This is another side to globalization."

      Not really; it's an artefact of monopoly protection legislation, ultimately derived from intellectual 'property'. The monopoly pricing of protected products is, to maximize revenue, set as a function of disposable income, rather than competetive pricing. The better you can discriminate between various income groups, the more revenue you can generate.

      Regional discrimination is a woefully inadequate instrument (compared to, for example, pricing as a function of income),
  • Do they realise that if I buy a PSP or a PS3 on import I will pay for it? there isn't a magic way of stealing them through this system, they still make money... OH! I remember, they don't on the PS3 - could this be a ploy to stop Sony from losing so much money?

    • Re:bah, (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@coxPERIOD.net minus punct> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:50PM (#16530941)
      Actually, there's no confirmation whether or not Sony's losing thier pants on the ps3...

      But still, Sony Computer Ent. Europe does lose money, even if Sony Computer Ent Japan doesn't. Mostly because they track their
      sales and revunue seperately from each other.

      Oh, I agree, it's stupid, but i'm just pointing out the logic of why it's both true and it's stupid.
      • by jonwil (467024)
        Maybe the solution is to stop tracking sales and revenue seperatly.
        If it was all "Sony", importing wouldnt matter.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      No, it's probably a ploy to sell the devices in the territories that they were meant to be sold in and stop Lik-Sang or whoever from gouging on the grey market. The worst gouging I ever saw was in Amsterdam airport who were selling an imported PSP for 399 euros before it had been released in Europe.
  • Motives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Allicorn (175921) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:39PM (#16530863) Homepage
    If only certain corporations would realise that its often not so much their predictable actions of self-interest which disgust people, but their wilful dishonesty.

    If they'd just say, "We brought this action to ensure that us and only us get to squeeze every last penny-worth of value out of our product and we don't have to share with anyone"... perhaps not a flowers-and-rainbows kinda sentiment but sheesh at least it'd be honest!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Esteanil (710082)
      Right.

      If they'd said anything like that, it'd be in the headlines a *lot* more places than it currently is... Stick to the formula, and it's not newsworthy outside Slashdot and other niche sources.
  • by spongebue (925835) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:40PM (#16530871) Homepage
    Could be bad news for those wanting PS3 Consoles on import.

    I didn't know people actually wanted a PS3 to begin with :P
  • by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:43PM (#16530897) Journal
    Price Japan [pricejapan.com] will export just about anything Japanese to anyone in the world. Some years ago I bought a Sony HS-20 [projectorcentral.com] video projector from that site, because it wasn't available in the US at the time. It still works just great. But perhaps court judgments like this will ultimately kill companies like Price Japan.

    So, does this mean that Sony can legally prevent private international re-sale of their product line too? Where is the demark line between what is and what is not permissible?
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:26PM (#16532051) Journal
      I was wondering "Since when does anyone have to get permission from the manufacturer to sell a legally bought item?"

      But it turns out that the U.S. has a similar policy w/regards to IP.

      The reasoning is that the unauthorized sales violates rights held by licensed distributors of the product, regardless of the legalities behind the (grey market) ownership & sale of the items in question.

      http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2005/05/is-there- hole-in-first-sale-doctrine.html [blogspot.com]

      The doctrine of first sale only applies to goods made in countries which have such a doctrine. Basically, if Sony has a distributor network set up, you (as a company) cannot circumvent that network. I imagine it isn't a problem if your cousin/friend/other in China or Japan mails you one.
      • What a horrible ruling. Or rather, a horrible prescident. Up until this point the "distribution" clause in copyright disputes has been a non-issue. Who goes after a distributer of legally produced goods? Why care? The first sale doctorine effectively makes this a non-issue, as once you've sold it once it is legally out of the copyright holder's hands. The copywrited work becomes an object which is owned and treated as usual with the exception of a lack of duplication rights.

        But imports? Aha! If you
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jamiethehutt (572315)
      Price Japan will export just about anything Japanese to anyone in the world.
      It cant cost much to post women can it?
  • by Channard (693317) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:49PM (#16530935) Journal
    As a UK resident, importing consoles has never been something I've been concerned about. Not least because we can get stung for import duty - which is going to be a hell of a lot on a console, especially when you add custom charges on. My concern is more that success in this area will lead to restrictions on importing software. What I have found more useful is the ability to import games from other places. Play-Asia [play-asia.com], for example lets you get certain region-unlocked X-Box 360 games for less than half the price of buying in the the UK. And there are some games that are severely delayed as well. Advance Wars for the GBA, for example, only hit the UK 6 months after its US release. The same thing applies to DVDs - many titles are available in the US well before the UK.


    Why should these companies realistically care anyway? It's not like consumers are buying those crappy knock-offs of consoles you could get during the days of the SNES. And as for safety reasons? What the hell? How would Sony be liable? Most hardware I've bought contains pages and pages of legalese saying where it's intend for use in, what voltage it takes etc. The fact is, this is all about control. Companies are scared of not having 100% control over where customers get their products from. If they really want to regain control, they should try not only equalizing prices, but actually ensuring there's a simultaneous release of their products across the world. Releasing the PS3 in March in the UK certainly doesn't help things.

    As for Sony's comments that the PS3 'will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs', I wouldn't buy a PS3 or a X-Box 360 for playing HD DVDs. Certainly, neither's HD facility will be region-free. And there are myriad titles that never get released in a certain region. Unless you only have an interest in watching mainstream blockbusters, a region-free player is a must. And the PS2's DVD performance was laughable. Not because it was poor quality, but because when you tried to watch any film in RGB mode, it green tinted the picture. Apparently this was some kind of copy protection measure. Yes, even though DVDs have macrovision. Who's to say the PS3 won't have some daft similar limitation.

    • Heck, the fact that it won't play European region Blu-Ray Movies is one reason people buy second consoles. It's not uncommon at all to buy a second player if you import a lot of movies from another country, especially if you feel legally queasy about modding your DVD player to ignore regions.
    • I bought a Nintendo DS lite in July, I didn't pay any import tax whatsoever... and I was told I would do because of who Lik Sang used, to ship it to me.
    • Play-Asia, for example lets you get certain region-unlocked X-Box 360 games for less than half the price of buying in the the UK. And there are some games that are severely delayed as well.

      The real concern for me is things like Xenosaga or the first Katamari Damacy, which never were and never will be released in Europe, because the maker just cannot be bothered to sell them here. Xenosaga is the one which finally forced me to modify my PS2 to play import games. Or games like Disgaea, which was released in E

  • by Wills (242929) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:53PM (#16530957)
    If Lik Sang were to bulk-buy PSPs from Japanese retailers (legal) in Japan, have the purchased PSPs delivered to the home addresses in Japan of minimum-wage Japanese workers who open the PSP retail box/packaging and use the PSPs for at least a month (legal), the consoles would then be used goods which could be legally exported and sold anywhere in the world including the EU and UK. Even after shipping costs and customs taxes are taken into account, it should still be profitable given the relatively very high prices in the EU and UK of brand new PSPs.
    • have the purchased PSPs delivered to the home addresses in Japan of minimum-wage Japanese workers who open the PSP retail box/packaging and use the PSPs for at least a month

      And consumers might get a better product after a month burn-in to eliminate the Infant Mortality problem of all complex electronics.

      Of course, Sony would have to deal with an inordinate number of warranty calls from the same address. But that still might be better than the house actually burning down, as might well have happened wit

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:14PM (#16531133) Homepage Journal
    And developers base their platform choices on the number of platforms in circulation I propose that we buy thousands of these machines for the purpose of epoxying them together into a giant angry penguin statue, 4 stories tall, to be erected across the street from the Sony corporate headquarters. Developers will know that thousands of the machines will never be used for gaming, Sony loses tens of thousands of dollars from their per-unit loss and we get to build a 4 story angry penguin statue out of consumer electronics. It's a win-win!
    • Developers will know that thousands of the machines will never be used for gaming, Sony loses tens of thousands of dollars from their per-unit loss and we get to build a 4 story angry penguin statue out of consumer electronics. It's a win-win!

      Wouldn't that be a: Win-win-win? (Not to be confused with Win 3.0)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Great. My teenage daughter read this over my shoulder and ran into her room crying. She's inconsolable.

      Holy shit, a four story high penguin statue? Dear readers, do NOT fuck with this guy.
  • This is nothing new. It's what happens when you have two neighbouring areas with different market prices (due to cost of living, salaries, etc. etc.)

    In 'The Good Old Days'(tm) this wasn't a problem. Goods, services and the workforce were not mobile - companies could charge according to the local market and achieve the maximum profit for that region. The workforce itself is kept in place because staying put is comparitively cost effective to moving (in both financial and personal sense).

    Not anymore. Cars ca
    • Cars can be bought in Europe and imported over to the UK

      Bad example, unless you like driving from the "wrong" side of the car all the time.

      • Also a bad example considering the UK is in Europe last I checked.
  • by viking80 (697716) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:22PM (#16531185) Journal
    I keep posting the "Friends dont let friends buy Sony" comment on most Sony related articles.

    I now wonder if Sony are monitoring me. They certainly are modding these posts flaimbait consistently.

    Are they going through my thrash, and obtaining my phone records as well?

    Anyway I boldly repeat here again:

    Much of the money you spend buying Sony gear goes to support anti consumer efforts from DRM, Infected CD's, Unusable due to DRM Blu-Ray HD-DVD. They may actually help kill the entire HD DVD effort.

    Fellow /.ers, help me fight aganst the evil Sony agents and mod this up.
    • by Ender Ryan (79406) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @08:50PM (#16532881) Journal
      I now wonder if Sony are monitoring me. They certainly are modding these posts flaimbait consistently.

      No. *I* mod your posts down.

      Are they going through my thrash, and obtaining my phone records as well?

      A.) You are delusional. B.) You are not important.

      Much of the money you spend buying Sony gear goes to support anti consumer efforts from DRM

      Ditto for.. *every* consumer electronics, software, and media giant. Indeed, Microsoft is probably doing more than any other company to stuff DRM down our throats at the moment. Noone needs games and hi-def movies. Many people need to buy new Windows machines now and then. Why don't you go beat up on them in the Xbox 360 stories? Or do you? If not, then you're just a hypocrite with an axe to grind.

    • by drew (2081)
      They may actually help kill the entire HD DVD effort.


      God, we can only hope...
    • by DrXym (126579)
      I now wonder if Sony are monitoring me. They certainly are modding these posts flaimbait consistently.

      These are the game forums. You'll get partisan assholes for any console.

      Much of the money you spend buying Sony gear goes to support anti consumer efforts from DRM, Infected CD's, Unusable due to DRM Blu-Ray HD-DVD. They may actually help kill the entire HD DVD effort.

      Certainly true of many Sony products, but the PS3 appears to be fairly open as far as consoles go - certainly far, far, far more open t

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:25PM (#16531195)
    So much for the whole concept of open markets.

    I'm dubious of any true safety concerns. Does Sony want it shouted that: Sony sells unsafe PS3's everywhere in the world except the UK, because only UK law won't allow it!

    If the PS3 is truly unsafe, are they going to be stopping travelers returning from other markets overseas and siezing their lawfully purchased PS3 consoles on safety concerns? I doubt it.

    The only way you'll fix this in the UK is by a vote for people who will reliably overturn laws that screw the consumers at large to artifically protect monopolies. Should we shout, Is anyone in the UK listening?

    What am I doing for my part? Not voting for John Kyl who instituted the Internet Gaming Ban in the USA, and had to sneak it through as part of another, more important, bill because no one wanted their vote on record over this issue.

    Who else here in Slashdot land is doing their part, no matter how small, this year?

    • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @05:32PM (#16531639)
      I'm dubious of any true safety concerns. Does Sony want it shouted that: Sony sells unsafe PS3's everywhere in the world except the UK, because only UK law won't allow it!

      It's funny, this is the same thing happens with pharmaceuticals in the U.S. The industry doesn't want people importing Canadian drugs (which are much cheaper) and one thing mentioned is that they have concern the drugs do not meet U.S. quality standards.

      I have yet to hear anyone ask if that's true doesn't that mean they are giving Candaians sub-quality prescription drugs. You think there would be a Canadian-consumer uproar with such simple logic.
      • by zoftie (195518)
        No, it is because alot of drugs are subsidized in canada.
        • by SeaFox (739806)
          No, it is because alot of drugs are subsidized in canada.

          As the other replier pointed out, there are price controls as well. Something the government in the U.S. should do more of when they subsidize things. *cough*Haliburton*cough*
      • by tgd (2822)
        There wouldn't be any Canadian uproar, because I'm convinced they (on average) are a bit more intelligent than the sadly declining intellect in the US.

        They know its BS, so no reason to get in an uproar. But apparently us Americans are too stupid to realize its BS and have our own uproar.

        Of course, we've got better things to be having uproars about should the intellect make a return in the US.
      • by kraut (2788)
        Having lived in a few countries, I've grown accustomed to hearing in each country that "We have the strictest drugs/food/consmer protection/electrical safety/animal cruelty/.... laws in the world". Simple logic tells you that can't be true ;)

        It's all about artificially segmenting the market to maximise profits. Of course in healthcare, the market is hugely subsidised, both by the government and across drugs, so there may be some limited justification for this. And counterfeit drugs are a truly evil thing.

        B
    • by DrXym (126579)
      I expect Sony's rationale goes like this:
      1. We manufacturer X number of devices to sell in Japan, and budget accordingly.
      2. Lik-Sang buy up a ton of those devices, simultaneously gouging prices and fucking up our market.
      3. How to stop Lik-Sang doing this????
      4. Any applicable law or statute.

      In this case TFA says grey imports from outside the EU are illegal under UK / EU law so is no surprise that Sony chose to invoke that law. I doubt Nintendo or Microsoft would do any different. In fact all three console makers

  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:59PM (#16531439)

    "Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from ..

    .. being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera;"

    - The PSP has a power supply for 100 - 240V, I'm told, and besides let's not pretend that Sony doesn't have to build all its various Playstations to be acceptable worldwide, shall we?

    "is not - in PS3's case - backwards compatible with either PS1 or PS2 software"

    - again, similar situation all around the world, what does this have to do with anything?

    "will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs"

    - because YOU built in restrictions to fuck us over with!

    "and will not be covered by warranty."

    - strictly by your own decision, there's nothing to prevent you extending the manufacturer's warranty i.e. another way by which to fuck us over.

    Perhaps a subtlety on the last point might be an expectation that a faulty unit would have to be returned to the importer - but that's the buyer's choice / risk to take. And it would be interesting if "grey" importers then found it profitable to set up local offices in rip-off parts of the world.

    You know, in financial and commodity markets the principle of arbitrage is pretty well accepted. There's just no damn reason why manufacturers like Sony should be allowed to create articifical barriers to otherwise well accepted market mechanisms. As has been pointed out elsewhere, as long as people have to suck it up and bear it with market effects like outsourcing, the corporates shouldn't be able to give themselves exemptions.

  • by Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @07:21PM (#16532415)
    It would be useful to know exactly what law had been broken - the links that I can find just quote the judge saying that "the offer for sale had taken place not in Hong Kong but in the EEA". Is this just "Asda and Tesco vs Levi" again?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1261829.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    has a summary of that (grey imports from the rest of the EEA legal; elsewhere not)

    Also see:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199899/ cmselect/cmtrdind/380/38009.htm [parliament.uk]

    http://www.patent.gov.uk/policy/policy-issues/poli cy-issues-trademarks/policy-issues-trademarks-para llel/policy-issues-trademarks-parallel-parallelcas elaw.htm [patent.gov.uk]
    has a link to the judgement (those last two links may cause you to lose the will to stay awake, though).

    If it IS just a trademark issue, what's to prevent some sort of "Iceweasel" solution to this? For example advertise the consoles as being of certain dimensions and able to play certain titles - but no more.
  • by protomala (551662) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @08:45PM (#16532853) Homepage
    I'm curious to listen what Sony have to say about countries not served importing units.
    You know, they never released any playstation here in Brazil.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@worldCOMMA3.net minus punct> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @06:18AM (#16535342) Homepage
    This is simple price fixing. Everyone is at it...

    For example, in the UK a Nintendo DS costs £110 with your choice of one crappy game. In Japan, the DS is around 16,000 yen, or about £71. That's £40 cheaper, less than 60% of the UK price. Sure, no free game, but £40 can buy you three new games for the DS.

    The free game is either just a way of making price comparison impossible ("Sorry, we can't price match so-and-so because it's a different package") or adding "value" to an overpriced product, without costing the retailer much. In fact, you are helping the retailer to dump unsaleable stock.

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