Consumers in France have taken legal action against EMI and retailer Fnac, accusing them of deception, because of copy-protection techniques used on CDs. They are unhappy because the copy protection scheme employed by EMI prevents the discs being played on some car stereos, home CD players and PCs – and also stops owners from making personal copies. This contravenes legislation passed in France 1985, stating that consumers can make copies of CDs for personal use.
UFC-Que Choisir is seeking damages for consumers through the legal action, and consequently Fnac and EMI face a fine of up to €188,000 (UK£126,350), if the group is successful. They may also have to remove all copy-protected CDs from sale.
Fnac say that they are confident that they will not be fined, as they claim to have taken adequate steps to inform customers of the potential problems with copy-protected CDs.
UFC-Que Choisir have another copy-protection case going through the courts at the moment, this time concerned with consumers prevented from transferring tracks from CD to portable players.