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Sony's Win a Major Blow for Importers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the free-commerce-with-exceptions dept.

200

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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Riiiiiight (5, Funny)

KU_Fletch (678324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530755)

Because when I think Sony, I think consumer protection.

Re:Riiiiiight (4, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530769)

The fact that when you turn on a PSP and the battery doesn't blow up in your la...

never mind.

Re:Riiiiiight (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531739)

I have always admired Sony's quality music CD offerings$$&&&+++NO CARRIER

Re:Riiiiiight (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530885)

Because when I think Sony, I think consumer protection.

Oh, I'm sorry you can't steal our content. We'll be sure to change our DRM system so a fucking freeloader like you can rip us off, and we apologize for any inconveniences.

-- Sony USA, Whiney Faggot Service

Sony`s Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530761)

So is a reverse apostrophe a sort of counter-possessive, denying Sony's ownership of the win?

Fixed it (5, Insightful)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 7 years ago | (#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'

Imports always expensive (2, Interesting)

Nazmun (590998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531583)

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:Imports always expensive (2, Informative)

megalomaniacs4u (199468) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531699)

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 untaxed - I had $100 parcel come through untaxed and have yet to get stung for importing Japanese DVDs & CDs. NB the UK threshold is 18GBP which tends to be 30-36USD depending how weak the dollar is.

Re:Imports always expensive ... UK prices (2, Informative)

pbhj (607776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532443)

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:Fixed it (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532353)

The game console industry always has interesting business models [vgcats.com]

This ruling should be contested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530789)

Regional pricing == Price fixing && Price fixing == Sucks

What's Up with Sony? (1)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530817)

Exploding batteries, irrational comments on the PS2/3, etc. $10 says that the Sony execs are joining hands and singing : "Pass the doobie on the left hand side, pass the doobie on the right hand side..." :P

Re:What's Up with Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530917)

Pass the duchy, not doobie.

Re:What's Up with Sony? (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531363)

Pass the dutchie [wikipedia.org] , not duchy. [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's Up with Sony? (2, Informative)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531535)

Either way, neither is correct. The original word is "kouchie". Musical Youth Group changed the lyrics to keep the drug references to a minimum for kids.

Re:What's Up with Sony? (0, Flamebait)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531661)

Touché, salesman.

Re:What's Up with Sony? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532207)

no way they would be such assholes if they were getting stoned all the time

Re:What's Up with Sony? (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533662)

well, when you price the PS3, look at sony exec. comments about the PS3 and their general "You'll buy it cause you're all sheep" mentality, They have GOT to be smoking something there.

"People will get two jobs to pay for the PS3"
"RIIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER!!!!!"

Simple solution..... (5, Insightful)

budword (680846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530833)

Don't like it ? Vote with your wallet, don't buy one.

Re:Simple solution..... (5, Funny)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530905)

indeed. i'm sure there is another, less expensive system for mii

Re:Simple solution..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531481)

m!! too.

Re:Simple solution..... (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531509)

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 in jail, sucker!

Re:Sony's Simple solution..... (4, Insightful)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Simple solution..... (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Simple solution..... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531143)

"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.

You may now return to your regular Sony bashing.

Re:Simple solution..... (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Simple solution..... (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532427)

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 same regulations.

That said, I fail to see how what Lik Sang is doing breaches IP rights - in fact, imho, that's utter bullshit.

Re:Simple solution..... (2, Informative)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533114)

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 Euro sales, I imagine). Most likely this will mean someone just goes to Japan, buys a bunch of PSPs(Wii/Xbox360/whatever), and sells them to his/her friends instead of ordering online.

Re:Simple solution..... (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531165)

Because the PS3 isn't exactly something you can't live without. Even with the government helping them along, there's nothing forcing your buy it.

Re:Simple solution..... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531261)

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 will break their promises to the common man once in office and side with the corporations.

Moving out of the country won't matter, the US and other nations are strongarming everyone else to comply. How can we change things for the better, because this ruling seems completely out of line with basic freedom and capitalism.

Re:Simple solution..... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531513)

There's four boxes you must use to defend your liberties...

Ballot Box
Soap Box
Jury Box
Ammo Box.

Use in that order.

Re:Simple solution..... (4, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532317)

I think three out of those four have failed. And unfortunately, I can't buy a tank squadron on eBay.

Re:Simple solution..... (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Simple solution..... (4, Insightful)

Grym (725290) | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Globalization (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530937)

Prices have to be higher in the U.S. because people there tend to sue for 1 billion when they drop their PSP on their toe. For global trade to be fair, you should pay/collect insurance money when shipping to/from countries of different litigious levels.

Re:Globalization (2, Interesting)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531003)

Are you trying to say that it would be a good thing if the weaknesses of your messed up legal system isn't brought to light? We have a 25% VAT on non-food goods (food is only 12%) and the best way to see the actual difference it makes is by seeing products from other countries. It usually pisses me off when I see how cheap everything is but then I remember the VAT and get even more pissed off. High blood pressure is a side effect of being a libertarian in Sweden.

Re:Globalization (3, Interesting)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531565)

They charge VAT on FOOD?

Wow.

Here in the UK, the general attitude has always been that there's no VAT on necessities, so food, books, and children's clothes, among other things, don't have any (but if you eat in a restaurant, you pay VAT, by the way). I was amazes when a Spanish colleague of mine told me the other day that he had to pay VAT on the house he just bought, but food? That's insane.

Re:Globalization (3, Informative)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531961)

I don't think there is anything exempt from VAT in Sweden except books (and that just happened a few years ago). I think some kinds of entertainment like concerts and the like are "only" 6%. But there are taxes on everything else.

If you like taxes Sweden is the place to go. First you the employer pays a tax for having an employee (it's basically hidden income tax). Then the worker gets to pay income tax of about 30-40%. Then you have VAT and the other nice little taxes. All those taxes ammounts to about 60% of the average persons income. The ammount of taxation of the BNP is a little more than 49%. Some things are even taxed several times. First theres a tax on gas then you pay VAT on the total cost including the original tax. The same goes for things like electricity and tobacco.

The best part is that the VAT was supposed to be temporary and originally was 5% if i remmeber correctly.

Re:Globalization (4, Insightful)

Bertie (87778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532521)

Still, at least you get some good public services with your taxes. We in the UK don't pay that much less tax than you, and our money gets spent on white-elephant IT projects that go over budget by SEVEN BILLION POUNDS, wars nobody supports, utterly pointless ID card schemes, and John Prescott's wages, while our hospitals and schools struggle to make ends meet.

Re:Globalization (1)

rmccann (792082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532287)

Yeah same in Ireland. In early eighties a proposed VAT on children's shoes caused the government to collapse.

Re:Globalization (3, Informative)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533836)

It's far from the only country in the world.

Argentina & Uruguay (my country - South America) also pay VAT and/or other taxes on food (23% for most stuff, 14% on other). We do follow Spain's lead (unfortunately)

On the other hand, we have some legislation stating that if a company is already importing something (the PSP in this case), you can do paralell imports (or something to the effect) under the "Exhaustion of rights"

As usual, Wikipedia has a neat article on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_import [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhaustion_of_rights [wikipedia.org]

It's part of a debate which is still happening, the EU is against it, but I would be for it (without having looked too much into it, I'm mostly favorable to fre trade and globalization means most of these barriers are artificial anyways).

Another nice link from New Zealand (a country that's often quoted as exemplary):

http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/Page____1230.aspx [med.govt.nz]

The rationale of the previous government for removing the prohibition on parallel importing was to ensure that New Zealand consumers could access imported goods at world-best prices by promoting a more open and competitive environment. The suggestion that some copyright products were more expensive in New Zealand than in other countries was based on analysis contained in Parallel Importing: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation. The general conclusion of the report was that lifting the blanket parallel-importing ban on all copyright goods was likely to provide net gains to the New Zealand economy as a whole. There was, however, some suggestion that the availability of parallel imported copies of major new release film titles for rental in advance of New Zealand theatrical release was contributing to declining cinema box office takings. [Legislation addressing this] subsequently passed as the Copyright (Parallel Importation of Films and Onus of Proof) Amendment Act 2003.
Too bad the cinemas won there (see last part).

Re:Globalization (2, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531617)

High blood pressure is a side effect of being a libertarian in Sweden.

Well, at least you get your health care and medications paid for. Here in the US, we get the high blood pressure from our insane politicians and have to pay for everything by ourselves. Any way you look at it, you lose.

Cheer up though, you don't have to live in Cleveland.

Re:Globalization (1)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532007)

Yeah, too bad there is a waiting period for getting almost any surgery. I think the waiting time is about two months for a new hip joint. There is also a monopoly on all medication including things that don't need a prescription. I think Sweden and North Korea are the only countrys left with a pharmaceutical monopoly.

Also with socialised health care you get real nice legislation against (some) things that are harmful like tobacco, alcohol and the like. That's because "I shouldn't have to pay for someone who voluntarily destroys his body". Well if you paid your own insurance you wouldn't have to you goddamn retard.

I would imagine I would rather live in Cleveland than in Sweden but if I could choose it would be New Hampshire.

Re:Globalization (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531633)

It pays for your country being considered one of (probably the most) advanced in the world.

Re:Globalization (1)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532043)

We are slipping. Swedens financial sucess is mostly due to war profiteering anyhow combined with low taxes. The state didn't go bezerk until Olof Palme came to power in the seventies. Before that the taxes were pretty low and we were still reaping the benefits of having intact infrastructure after the second world war. Now we are exposed to more competition and have no war to benefit from. Assuming the state isn't cut back soon we will get pwned by Latvia and Estonia in about 20 years.

Also, please note that taxes are purely parasitical. The money is always taken from somewhere.

Re:Globalization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530961)

As it is an electronic device, there are EMC and safety regulatory bodies in EU that have their rules and regulation governing the import of commerial goods for sale. (i.e. EU version of FCC, UL) While you can get away bringing your personal belonging, there are rules that businesses have to obey for import. You cannot legally sell electronic equipments in the states without it having the FCC/UL stickers on the back, so it is the same for EU.

This is a different matter if it were a import game/movie/cd...

Re:Globalization (0)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530991)

One size doesn't always fit all though. The world has a multitude of different cultures and I for one think they should be respected. People try to counter this by saying "if people of country X didn't want country Y's product they wouldn't buy it" but this is misleading because one thing almost every culture has in common is everyone wanting to pay the cheapest possible price for an item, regardless of any more subtle drawbacks (like lack of warranty, risk of fire as well as any possible cultural side-effects).

Re:Globalization (0, Troll)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532163)

People try to counter this by saying "if people of country X didn't want country Y's product they wouldn't buy it" but this is misleading because one thing almost every culture has in common is everyone wanting to pay the cheapest possible price for an item, regardless of any more subtle drawbacks (like lack of warranty, risk of fire as well as any possible cultural side-effects).

So the people don't care about their different culture. And that's fine!

Who the fuck do you think you are anyway, to be trying to DICTATE people's culture to them?!

Re:Globalization (5, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531059)


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 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Globalization (2, Interesting)

pafrusurewa (524731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532825)

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 textbooks specifically (so there's no price-gouging).

Re:Globalization (1, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531461)

One thing you have to consider is that 9 times out of 10 price differences in a country are directly related to the cost of doing buisness in that country. Look at this chart ( http://images.forbes.com/media/2006/05/Overall_Tax _Burden_Governemt_Spending.pdf [forbes.com] ) when you average the total tax burden of European countries you get a rate in the 40%-45% range, when you look at North America the united states is the primary consern at 25.5% (Canada actually has a pretty decent Corporate tax rate because we have bad personal income tax rates), and Japan rests at about 25%. Since Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo all have to pay an additional 15%-20% tax in the European region they need to charge 15%-20% more on their items to make the same profit from their products.

Always remember, no company pays corporate taxes their customers pay corporate taxes; if you want low cost affordable products lower your corporate tax rate.

Re:Globalization (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531643)

And that's not just a UK problem. Lots of identical things change price very much from one country to another. The problem seems similar in Canada at least.

I personally order most of my photo gear from the USA (grey market) or Hong Kong. I routinely save hundreds on a half decent lens (usually save ~1/3 of local price, or ~300$ on a 1000$ lens). Just bought a nice espresso machine a month ago. I saved almost half ordering it from the USA than buying it locally. Computer hardware? We have far better deals than some other countries have (like a guy from Egypt I saw talking about his local prices), but I keep seeing things like "I've bought this 400GB HD for 50$ after mail in rebate" or such (from some USA retailer like newegg), which is often FAR better than we can hope for (320GB HDs are ~130$CDN here, still not too bad). Often comparing the price of electronics (e.g. PS3), it often costs far more than the price of similar item in the USA * exchange rate (IIRC the PS3 is like 200$ more).

If it was even near the same price to buy locally, I would. But when I can save a few hundreds of my hard-earned money on a single item, even after paying LOTS on international shipping/insurance/customs clearance... It adds up really quick. I save a few thousands a year that way.

And then there's all the companies restricting their stuff to regions - e.g. DVD region coding (most of my DVDs are PAL/R2 imports, just because they don't even sell those shows here).

Re:Globalization (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531287)

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.

bah, (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530855)

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, (3, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:bah, (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532663)

Maybe the solution is to stop tracking sales and revenue seperatly.
If it was all "Sony", importing wouldnt matter.

Motives (5, Insightful)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530863)

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:Motives (2, Insightful)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531353)

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.

The real news here... (5, Funny)

spongebue (925835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530871)

Could be bad news for those wanting PS3 Consoles on import.

I didn't know people actually wanted a PS3 to begin with :P

Re:The real news here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531007)

Re:The real news here... (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531603)

Selling out of pre-orders when you're shipping so few systems at launch (400,000) and most companies are being really conservative about how many pre-orders they take is not all that impressive.

Personally, I came to the conclusion after the XBox 360's launch that if you can't supply enough units that a person can walk into a store and buy a system 6 weeks after launch you were unprepared to release your system and should have probably pushed it back until you could supply enough units.

http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=212 [vgcats.com]

Re:The real news here... (2, Interesting)

dracocat (554744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531631)

Why?

Factories can only produce so many per month.

You mean everybody should wait 6 months to a year until there is enough on supply so that you can go into a store and buy one?

So you can build more factories and increase the price per unit because in 6 months there will be less demand, or everyone can wait six months so that everyone gets a fair shot.

If it was up to me I would say sell them one at a time as they come off the end off the assembly line! This applies to the xbox and the wii as well. I want my wii now, not after stock has been built up!

What about Japanese exporters? (5, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530897)

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?

Re:What about Japanese exporters? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532051)

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.

Re:What about Japanese exporters? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532185)

Well that was a _very_ interesting read. Thank you, it answered my question fully.

Re:What about Japanese exporters? (2, Funny)

jamiethehutt (572315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532603)

Price Japan will export just about anything Japanese to anyone in the world.
It cant cost much to post women can it?

Control.. it's all about control. And stupidity. (4, Informative)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530935)

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.

Re:Control.. it's all about control. And stupidity (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16530983)

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.

Re:Control.. it's all about control. And stupidity (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531247)

> 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.

The reason for this is because traditionally companies either buy or sell distribution rights to items. In the land of consoles we call them 'publishers'. The publishers job is to encourage retailers to purchase copies of a new game. This is usually done by someone that has a relationship with the company. In the UK you want your publisher to have a relationship with games.com, and whatever brick and mortar video game stores there are. In the US you want a publisher that have good relationships with gamestop and walmart. Major titles that launch worldwide on or about the same date usually have a publishing house behind them with global power, other games (such as 'Worms') will come out in Europe long before they get a US release because Team17 has distribution channels in europe, but doesn't in the US.

When people circumvent these publishers by self importing, it makes it a lot riskier for a publisher to do business which hurts large companies like Sony.

Re:Control.. it's all about control. And stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531579)

Not least because we can get stung for import duty

well its not that bad (try importing a big ticket item like a car and then see how expensive it gets)

add 17.5% VAT then add 10% to the sum of the total and voila you get the full legal price
unless of course you go on holiday there ;)

Re:Control.. it's all about control. And stupidity (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533876)

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.

DRM! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530943)

Made you look. (I have no idea what DRM has to do with this story except that some Slashdotter with inevitably manage to tie it in.)

Thinking of legal ways around this (5, Insightful)

Wills (242929) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Thinking of legal ways around this ADDED BENE (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531241)

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 with so many early release XBox 360's all crammed into the same location. :^)

hey zonk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530959)

a backtick is not an apostrophe. also, you have no email address displayed in your profile. how is anyone supposed to contact you when you are on duty?

Check out Sony's wrongdoing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16530981)

C'mon pals, click here: http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Since Sony's Losing Money on Them (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531133)

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!

Re:Since Sony's Losing Money on Them ------Win 3.0 (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531263)

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:Since Sony's Losing Money on Them (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16534000)

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.

Problem will be here to stay... (2, Interesting)

mutube (981006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531169)

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 can be bought in Europe and imported over to the UK, Japanese games can be imported to the US. While labour is still relatively static (I aint moving anytime soon) goods are comparitively free to move around and they happily do. They will continue to do so - even with customs intervention (look at drugs).

Higher prices in affluent areas will come under pressure from cheap imports *until* wages in the other areas rise to create an equivalent cost. Companies should stop trying to fiddle with things and just let people buy where they can & want. Unless they're gloriously underselling in one region (more fool them) the effort required to prevent is probably not cost effective.

Who's betting Nintendo offer help with importing. They're doing everything else right...

Re:Problem will be here to stay... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532213)

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.

Re:Problem will be here to stay... (1)

aegzorz (1014757) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533059)

Cars can be bought in Europe and imported over to the UK ...
This reminds me of that old headline in a UK paper; "Fog Over Channel--Continent Isolated."
When did the UK cease to be a part of Europe?

Friends dont let friends buy Sony (4, Insightful)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531185)

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.

Re:Friends dont let friends buy Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531615)

I keep posting the "Friends dont let friends buy Sony" comment on most Sony related articles.

Can you not do that please?

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

How pathetic. You think that your viewpoint must be the correct one; no rational person could think otherwise, of course! It must be them Sony shills being paid to keep you down! That, or someone might actually be disagreeing with you! Imagine that!

Much of the money you spend buying Sony gear goes to support anti consumer efforts from DRM, Infected CD's

The only thing that this has to do with Sony is that Sony BMG has "Sony" in it. Sony is an electronics company, Sony BMG deals with music and stuff.

(Minor note here: Can we stop using the word "consumer" too? How about "customer"?)

Unusable due to DRM Blu-Ray HD-DVD

That last part has too many proper nouns in it. Are you just throwing as many acronyms as you can out now?

They may actually help kill the entire HD DVD effort.

I have an odd feeling that that just might be Sony's aim. You know, eliminating the competition and all that? Isn't that the goal of all companies? Next you're going to be telling me that the PS3 is just a way to get back at Microsoft. And that water is wet and other such things.

As someone above me said, "If you don't like it, don't buy it". No-one's forcing you to get a PS3. Try to look past what Zonk says and urge people to make decisions of their own.

If you want to blab to your friends, blab about all DRM, not just about one company that you love to hate so much.

You are delusional.. or something (3, Funny)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532881)

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.

Re:Friends dont let friends buy Sony (1)

drew (2081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533252)

They may actually help kill the entire HD DVD effort.


God, we can only hope...

So much for open markets (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Just like U.S./Canadian Drugs (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just like U.S./Canadian Drugs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16533164)

I have yet to hear anyone ask if that's true doesn't that mean they are giving Candaians sub-quality prescription drugs.

That's because no one with a bit of sense would ever believe that. Canadian quality standards for drugs are just as strict as the US counterparts; the exact same drugs are shipped to canadian pharmacies as to US pharmacies. The only difference is that there are laws in Canada that limit what the drug companies can charge. It's a bit like saying "either you sell your drugs here for less than x, or you don't sell them at all".

The fact that the drug companies still choose to sell their drugs in canada at vastly reduced prices says a lot about how much profit they make selling them in the US.

Friends dont let friends buy Sony (-1, Redundant)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531341)

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.

Re:Friends dont let friends buy Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16533986)

For your information: it's very unlikely that Sony is devoting any resources to modding down some random schmuck on Slashdot. More likely, normal Slashdot readers with mod points are modding you down if you are posting the same thing again and again. (I know I would if I had mod points I wanted to spend on modding people down: repeat posts disrupt legitimate debate and indicate a lack of concern for whether one's posts are relevant to the article.)

If you seriously think that Sony are monitoring you and modding you down, I'd advise you to step away from the computer for a while, as this would indicate that you have developed a somewhat unhealthy paranoia.

Isn't this restraint of trade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531349)

I thought WTO rules forbid this from occurring... Oh wait a second. I forgot who I was talking about. Carry on eveybody.

United Kingdom: Marketplace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531381)

The United Kingdom - great place to sell a few dozen cargo ships of 'gently used' bargain batteries?

Let's break this down (3, Insightful)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Just take a trip (1)

KillaGouge (973562) | more than 7 years ago | (#16531479)

What is to stop people from buying stuff on vacation?

This is insulting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16531533)

You know, I wouldn't mind if they just came clean and said that the reason they were restricting the overseas sales was that they wanted more control over the distribution network. But no. They have to insult us. First, they insult us by insinuating they have control over their products once they have been sold to another company, and then they basically say we are too stupid to handle setting it up in the wrong country, so they are doing us a favor by restricting sales. What jerks. Die Sony.

P.S. The anonymous coward thing is kinda annoying. I come here all the time, I'm just too lazy to sign up...

Anyone got a link to the actual judgement? (2, Informative)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

What about other countries? (3, Interesting)

protomala (551662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16532853)

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.
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