All Your Cash Are Belong To Us
January 21, 2004 6:45 AM   Subscribe

The benefits of Globalisation are not for the likes of you, consumer. CD-Wow used to source its CDs worldwide, and offer them for sale to UK consumers at very competitive rates. Now, after being threatened by the Music Corporations, it has been forced to source the music it sells to UK customers, solely from within Europe, adding a hefty two GB pounds to the price of a CD. Another wonder of copyright law.
posted by Blue Stone (14 comments total)
This reminds me of the fact that Adam Smith held that his "Invisible Hand" could only work with maximal efficiency if workers were allowed as much freedom (or as little) to move around as was capital. When workers are free to chase the best wages, this establishes the equilibrium which makes the "Free Market" truly free.

Smith actually campaigned in his time, as a social reformer, to allow workers to move about more freely within Great Britain.

What we have now is a wildly lopsided corporatocracy.
posted by troutfishing at 6:58 AM on January 21, 2004

What astonishes me is that CDWow agreed to this move out of court - I'm no legal expert, but surely there was a reasonable chance they would have come out on top in court. The BPI is apparently planning to go after next.. (as opposed to
posted by ascullion at 8:20 AM on January 21, 2004

It probably wasn't worth the fight, to be honest.. Losing would have been very very bad, and winning would have been a bigger victory for consumers than for CD-Wow (and may have opened the doors for all the bigger stores to source their CDs in the same way which would negate any advantage they had), however settling out of court means - well, OK, they've been hurt - but they've also got a lot of free publicity. I'd never heard of them before, for example.
posted by cell at 8:36 AM on January 21, 2004

Call me a silly old sausage, but if companies in the UK are free to sack their workers and outsource to an Indian call centre (and I believe they should be), surely I can buy my CDs from anywhere I choose, as long as they're legal.

Or am I missing something?
posted by Pericles at 8:59 AM on January 21, 2004

Is there actually any legal standing for the BPI to threaten this? I was under the impression that importing CDs was completely legal, and even though the RIAA has threatened to sue CD importers in the US, they haven't even attempted to yet. Then again, my knowledge of British law isn't that great...
posted by Darke at 9:52 AM on January 21, 2004

Yet another reason to just download music. [/flamebait]
posted by Outlawyr at 10:19 AM on January 21, 2004

ILX tells me that there are other online stores with good prices for the UK.
posted by donth at 11:14 AM on January 21, 2004

Hats off to troutfishing: Globalisation is doomed to fail as long as we continue to celebrate only one side of the equation. Only when global trade in capital is matched by global freedom of migration would it ever have any hope of generating global equality. Any other system is biased at its deepest level.
posted by Jimbob at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2004

i wonder how this ruling applies to downloadable music. i've been curious about the legality of downloading cheap music from Russia.

i guess this is different, b/c CD-wow is then using that price differential to create a business opportunity, but if i just want customizable MP3s for $.01/MB, is that legal? in the US? UK?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:42 PM on January 21, 2004


CDWow was my favorite place to pick up CDs...

Now I just won't buy CDs. Thanks, BPI!
posted by Katemonkey at 1:08 AM on January 22, 2004

I feel smug that Australia has recently passed "parallel import" laws specifically allowing retailers to source product from any legal source world-wide without fear of reprisals from local distributors.

I also don't care since I've been getting most of my music recently directly from the artist's website, local or international.
posted by krisjohn at 3:10 AM on January 22, 2004

I wonder if this will be affected:

Can a UK ruling affect a company posting legally purchased products from outside the EEC?
posted by vvv at 5:48 AM on January 22, 2004

This piece from an international law firm in the UK sheds a little more light on the basis for the suits.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:08 AM on January 22, 2004

A few years back there was a big case where Levi Strauss sued Tesco (like a British wal-mart) for doing the same thing with jeans. The case went all the way to the European court. Tesco lost. I suspect that's why they settled out of court.
posted by nedrichards at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2004

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