French Consumer Group Takes Action Against Copy-protected CDs

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.

Que Choisir

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?