Why is Importing Legitimate CDs Copyright Infringement?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by John*K, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. John*K

    John*K Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw this article, but I don't understand why the sale of imported legitimate CDs from legitimate sources is considered a copyright infringement.


    http://www.ilmc.com/secure/comm/rtcnews.html

    Could this have repercussions for those of us who seek imports from ,e.g., Japan? The Japanese version of Lost in Translation has a different cover and one more song. If I buy this, is that copyright infringement?
     
  2. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    I imagine it's the same reason why DVDs are region coded.
     
  3. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Personal imports are still legal in Europe.
     
  4. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Similar to Region Coding, as mentioned.

    Sometimes the materiel is only licenced for certain areas, so for example, Brit labels can licence old records from America, but not be allowed to export the cds of them to America.

    It could be the original owner may plan on selling the song himself in USA, but doesn't want the Brit licensee to compete with his plans.

    Don't forget that free trade is largely a fiction.
     
  5. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    You have to understand that being shafted by retailers is a British pasttime. We just love it.

    It's perfectly fine for companies to 'save money' by shipping out half their staff in favour of Indian offshore workers, but should we want to pay a few quid less by buying a CD from overseas - forget it!
     
  6. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    In the US I believe it's illegal for the Foriegn label to sell them, not for a US based wholesaler to buy them oversears and then import and sell them in the US.
     
  7. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    I don't know about Europe, but I'm pretty sure imports are perfectly legal in the US. My copy of the soundtrack to Willow is from Holland, and my copy of the ST to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is Japanese (wish I could read the liner notes, they're pretty extensive, maybe I should take them to the Japanese department on campus), and both of those were bought off Amazon.com I figure if it was infringement here in the US a company as big as Amazon would get nailed to the wall. Oh well, copyright in today's world is way too powerful anyway, I can't say I'm surprised if it did turn out to be infringement. Can't say I'd care either.
     
  8. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Good Lord!! My Kenny G SACD can be confiscated by the authorities??
     
  9. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    You're admitting you have any Kenny G?

    That'll probably get you a rap sheet by itself [​IMG]
     
  10. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    They'd be doing you a favor, Danny [​IMG]
     
  11. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Your house might be considered a superfund site for toxic cleanup[​IMG]
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The spokesman doesn't know what they are talking about. Importing legally licensed recordings is NOT copyright infringement - there is no copying involved. However, labels selling their CDs outside the regions covered by their distribution agreements are breaking the terms of those agreements.

    As Seth points out, someone can buy CDs wholesale in the licensed region and then import them somewhere else, but they need to be arm's length from the licensing label.

    From the article, I can't see how CD Wow was in the wrong, but they probably just didn't want to fight the case in court due to the costs involved.
     
  13. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    how unfortunate, for both CD Wow and the consumer. cases where the party is in the right (potentially!) but can't afford to fight and end up the loser make my blood boil.
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    It's perfectly simple - if Brit distributors don't get this extra cash, then they won't have the money to produce all the wonderful manufactured boy and girl bands that we've had over the past few years.


    Now, come on, let's look on the positive side of this, Rob! First, although it's hell for the public, it's great for retailers, and think how heartbroken we'd be if the MD of some high street chain had to trade in his or her Lexus because we ungrateful consumers hadn't paid double the retail price in the USA.

    And all these call centres in India are just great! There is all the excitement of seeing how many times you have to phone up before you get someone you can understand and who can understand you. When I think of all the hours I used to waste reading, watching TV, playing with the kids, etc, when I could have been on the phone to some far-flung part of the Commonwealth, it fair makes my blood boil.
     
  15. Matthew Todd

    Matthew Todd Second Unit

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    I basically agree with Jeff. This sounds like a contract issue, not a copyright infringement issue to me.

    Matt
     
  16. Jeffrey N

    Jeffrey N Extra

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    I agree with Matthew. I think that some kind of exclusive marketing agreement that the recording company has with a distributor in that country is preventing imports from another country even though it is from an authorized distributor (with the same exclusive marketing agreement but for the other country).

    The company I work for (another industry completely) has several exclusive marketing agreetents with a few Japanese companies. If you want to buy the products that those Japanese companies make, you HAVE to buy it from my company This is on the wholesale level- We distribute to 4000+ retail stores. We have had US Customs confiscate merchandise that was imported into the US by a retail store or another distributor from an authorized wholesale source in Japan numerous times. We then complain loudly to the Japanese companies because their distributors in Japan are violating their contracts. Bottom line: Protected territories are perfectly legal and that seems to be the case here.
     
  17. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    This is true, but only if the company is buying from a distributor outside their territory, ie, requiring the distributor to export beyond their territory. If the goods are purchased wholsesale in the region covered by the distribution agreement and then imported somewhere else, there is little that can be done about it AFAIK. However, this situation generally results in higher end pricing, not lower, which is what the argument is with CD Wow situation. If CD Wow is buying from distributors outside their territories, then the domestic labels have an argument, but it still isn't a copyright infringement. That would only be applicable if they were manufacturing without a license.
     
  18. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Not exactly. My copyright law is a bit rusty, but here goes:-

    Copyright infringement is not always limited to manufacture of illegal copies. It often includes selling them, making them available for hire, or importing them.

    What constitutes an "illegal copy" can vary. Usually it's defined as a copy made "without the consent of the copyright holder" or something similar.

    Here's the "problem": copyright is territorial, so for instance the copyright owner in the UK may not necessarily be the same as the copyright owner in the USA. Of course, in this day of multinationals, they sometimes are the same, or the UK holder is the subsidiary of the USA holder (or vice versa).

    IIRC some countries define this issue of "consent of copyright holder" quite tightly, such that the relevant consent is that of the holder in that particular country, e.g. if UK then literally the UK copyright holder. The fact that the item is completely legit in the USA is not relevant.

    Having said that, again IIRC this draconian approach is not common (I vaguely recall the Australians define it that tightly), most others take a more sensible approach in saying that as long as the item is legit in its country of origin it is free game. Although this would raise a fuss if a country either had very lax copyright laws (e.g. China), or had a much shorter period of copyright protection so works entered the public domain relatively early compared to other countries -- this will no doubt be a big issue in future with the US extending copyright on movies -- case in point would be Snow White, it's 67 years old which is more than most protections (50 years or so), but it's still under copyright in USA (courtesy IIRC of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Another one might be Peter Pan (the book, copyright owned by a children's hospital by bequest of the author), which had its copyright specially extended by a UK Act of Parliament.
     
  19. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I've never used CD-Wow but UK members will be familiar with a Jersey-based companyed called Play.com.

    Play started out about five years ago, selling R1 (mostly Canadian) titles to UK buyers. Selling R1 discs over here is technically illegal but Play got around it by being based in Jersey, who have their own sovereign laws.

    Several months ago Play split into 'Play.com' and 'PlayUSA.com', the latter taking care of the non-UK DVDs and games while the 'old' company only sold UK goods (still at discounted prices).

    What has happened now is that PlayUSA will not sell CDs to UK buyers and there are no direct links back to the sister Play.com site. It's not clear what is going on but I know they were selling CDs to the UK up until very recently, so I imagine this recent case with CD-Wow has had an effect. What is odd is that they're still selling R1 DVDs to the UK and also the Play.com site's CDs all originate from other countries!
     

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