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EU legal conflict of MP3 access?


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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Dec 2008 16:51:01 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Dec 2008 11:57:17 GMT
Dapto says:
Great that Amazon UK is now selling high-quality DRM free MP3's. I don't want to beat up Amazon for the restrictions imposed by your contracts with record companies - but I have to wonder if EU law would consider it an illegal trade barrier not to allow sales across the union?

I can buy anything else on amazon.co.uk and have it sent to my home in Sweden, but I can't download files?? That's a pretty baroque restriction and looks legally questionable to me.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2008 20:26:20 GMT
A. M. Pink says:
In the UK, the music you download is considered legally licensed for personal use, and you cant legally be prevented from purchasing in this way. This is because of the Berne convention, as administered by the WIPO, and WTO requirements.

Quote "...any country that is a signatory of the convention is awarded the same rights in all other countries that are signatories to the Convention as they allow their own nationals, as well as any rights granted by the Convention"

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2008 20:55:28 GMT
Dapto says:
Thanks for the information. The legalese is pretty dense in this area, but I think you're saying that the Berne Convention has precedence over the principle of fair trade across the EU?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2008 00:54:35 GMT
A. M. Pink says:
Hi, I'm really not sure, if it has precedence over fair trade across the EU.

But it does state that electronic goods can be purchased by individuals from different countries, if both the country of the person purchasing & buying are signatories to the Berne Convention. While Record Companies, would seem to like us to believe otherwise & seem to be getting their way in that some sites won't even let you download legally free MP3's. This of course is my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2008 22:30:50 GMT
annabelle says:
Yes, this is likely to constitute a barrier to trade (either services or goods), but they'd probably be able to sting you with the justification: protection against fraud (from Gambelli) or protection of Intellectual Property rights (from Coditel).

I feel your pain. I live in Belgium and can't watch BBC iplayer.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Dec 2008 22:53:20 GMT
J. Reid says:
Real pain would be when you pay for a UK TV licence which then contributes funding to offering free iPlayer content to people who live, for instance, in Belgium.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jan 2009 15:26:04 GMT
I think it is painfully obvious that these sort of restrictions are against the law and against all sorts of trade agreements. But instead the politicians pass even more laws to allow the local equivalents (Finland the locale here) of RIAA to cash in on all devices that might theoretically be used to store music files (legal or otherwise), so what if the organization has already cashed in on the CD or MP3 sales of the actual music, so what if the device will have nothing to do with music. And at the same time allow these sort of trade restrictions be made.

Now where is the logic? Yeah.. there's none.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 10:37:23 GMT
Dr. Mabuse says:
If anyone can be arsed to read amazon's statement about downloading from abroad, you might find this:

'At this time music downloads are only available to UK customers (including The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. Please continue to check back for additional information on supported locations.'

Notice the words 'at this time'. It might give you some sort of clue!

Baroque restriction? Legally questionable? No. It's just you jumping head first into a brick wall. Does the phrase 'Look before you leap' help in any way? Good luck with your litigation claim.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 17:35:51 GMT
As someone who lives in Belgium I deeply resent the hideous taxes we pay if we want to import - via Amazon for example - any electrical goods. So much for a free market!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 18:28:29 GMT
No.. You're mixing up two separate issues here.

There are those that are UK residents and have problems downloading from abroad because of IP restrictions at this time. I have no doubt that will change at some point.

But the main issue here is that there is no reason to believe i.e. other EU residents would be allowed to buy. The reason for all this doubt and downright anger is that this has gone on for years. Amazon US has been selling MP3's for what.. two years now. "Only US residents".. "Due to record label agreements". Guess what ? There are probably 4-5 other companies that also sell MP3's DRM free or otherwise... and quess what? "Only US residents".. or "Only UK residents". The only company that stands out is iTunes. They've been selling music for non-US/UK residents for years. But them too.. only music, and not TV shows or Movies.

Now I ask you.. do you think that is fair. Do you think what the record companies and companies like Amazon that sign on the dotted line.. are they doing the right thing ?

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 19:03:43 GMT
Dr. Mabuse says:
There's a simple solution to this. Buy the CD and rip it!! Most of the time CD's are cheaper than the MP3 (or equivelant) version.

What is the big problem? Amazon.co.uk (notice the co.uk?) start offering MP3 downloads, some of which are very cheap for a short period of time and suddenly the rest of Europe gets paranoid about not being able to download them 'at this time'. The downloads may be available to the rest of Europe/the World at some later date. But no, that's not good enough!! It's record company policies and Amazon's fault!

Life in general isn't fair! Just ask the Icelandic population! Or even the Palestinians! Amazon.de don't offer downloads, Amazon.fr don't either. Perhaps we should take them to the EU court of arbitration and force them to sell MP3's to all and sundry!

For goodness sake, so you can't download some MP3's. Surely there's more important things in life to uprise against?

Happy New Year.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 19:41:11 GMT
:).. ok here goes:

1) Actually CDs cost easily 20€ when you can get the same for 10€ on digital download.
2) This "crying" didn't start when Amazon.co.uk (yeah I do know it's UK) started offering MP3s. As I said, international customers have been given lip service for years. Amazon US has had that 'at this time' BS since the start.
3) Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk are US and UK companies yes. But a very large portion of their business is international.
4) Yeah life in general isn't fair. But I'm personally just so sick these BS tactics the record companies use. Ok.. DRM is slowly going out.. so next.. "Let's just sell to a select few".. Now where's the logic in this. Why do they not want our money.

So there.. now I'll crack open a beer and let the blood pressure come down a bit :).

And a Happy New Year.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2009 20:51:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2009 20:52:36 GMT
Dr. Mabuse says:
Look, I agree that record companies have been ripping the general public off for years, especially the prices that were charged in the UK!! I go back to the days of the "Home taping is killing music" baloney!! And that's going back some time!!

Companies in general are ripping off their 'valued' customers every sodding moment that they can! That is life unfortunately.

Amazon have started this service and some of the offers make it great value (for those able to subscribe) and that is a move in the right direction. Don't criticise them when they haven't had a chance to 'prove their worth'.

iTunes often charge prices for downloads that are more expensive than Play and 7Digital and sometimes they are cheaper. Usually their prices are more than you can buy the CD for (if it's still available, which is a different ball park).

If there are any downloads that I particularly want and they are above what I see as an unrealistic price, I will use an alternative method of aquiring them.

The only way to stop 'being ripped off' is to not purchase any music in any form until record companies comply with the populaces wishes. Frankly, we'd be just urinating in the wind. There are lots of folk out there who just buy whatever the prices!

Have you noticed how CD prices are creeping back up again?

I'll join you in that drink!! :)

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2009 11:47:47 GMT
Yeah I agree. It's funny you should mention the home taping days. The ingenious solution here then was to add a small "copyright" fee to each and every blank cassette sold. That fee of course went to the music industry watchdog organization.

Now then that digital distribution of music has arrived what is the solution of the politicians? Not only do we pay the copyright fee when we buy the music (whatever the media), we have to pay the fee when we buy any device or storage device that is theoretically capable of storing copyrighted material. That is blank CD/DVDs, hard drives, mobile phones, players, memory sticks and other flash memory... you name it, any sort of digital storage. These days we keep the recording industry watchdogs in business even if we don't listen to music at all.

Say.. mobile phone+memory card+one song as MP3. That's 3 times the copyright fees you pay for the right to listen one song. The more preposterous thing is of course that you pay the same fees from all kinds of computer hardware...

I buy all of my music from iTunes these days. And I'm clad they're finally moving to DRM free. It would just be nice to get some competition for it. It really is the only option here for digital downloads that you can even consider. And I personally actually don't want the physical CD and box.. just a waste of space for me. And yeah.. when the price is what it is.. even less.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2009 16:28:05 GMT
There are at two others I buy from regularly, both of which are based in the USA, who sell DRM-free content legally worldwide.

They don't carry the major labels, but that's no sad loss, IMHO.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jan 2009 23:30:01 GMT
Some albums are available only on mp3! I would be only too willing to buy them on CDs if they were available.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2009 12:43:06 GMT
Exactly, same thing here.

Effectively, this damn policy is preventing customers eager to buy from actually buying anything. I too have a few mp3 albums in mind that I would buy were I allowed to. If I'm not and the same album would be available as a regular CD, I just might very well buy that instead (despite taxing the environment with a piece of plastic that serves not much use as soon as I've ripped the CD to my computer).

But no. Despite huge reported "losses" the record labels are apparently well-off enough to not be interested in my money.

I absolutely understand why people go to The Pirate Bay as legal purchases are, when not impossible, much more hassle than the better service provided by the "pirates".
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Discussion in:  mp3 discussion forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  6 Dec 2008
Latest post:  7 Jan 2009

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