Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004011632,00.htmlBy DEREK BROWN
GREEDY music label giants are launching a legal battle against cheap CDs.
The British Phonographic Industry — which represents hundreds of record companies — is suing two Internet music stores for selling CDs for almost half their High Street price.
And they hope by winning a court case against UK-based CDWow.com and Play.com, music fans will be forced to buy their discs at the higher shop price.
Dido’s Life For Rent — the biggest selling album of last year — costs £13.99 in HMV. But buy it from CDWow.com and you’ll get change for seven quid and free delivery.
Even buying an album on American website Amazon and paying the airmail postage is cheaper than buying it here — especially if you buy more than one CD as the postage is the same.
It is proof yet again that British music fans are continually being ripped off.
Two years ago the Office Of Fair Trading ruled that record companies were unfairly blocking the import of cheaper discs from the rest of Europe.
So why are CDs less expensive on the superhighway than on the High Street?
Internet stores cut prices in two ways. First, they don’t have any of the overheads of big stores such as HMV, Virgin and Our Price.
They don’t have to rent a shop floor in the centre of town or spend money to display CDs in fancy racks. They also have far fewer staff.
But most importantly, many Internet stores import CDs from the Far East, Asia and North America where they are cheaper because record companies there take a smaller percentage of sales income.
Record companies here claim they have to add on extra expenses for paying artists, recording costs and distribution to the price of each disc.
It’s an excuse that many music fans will find hard to swallow.
Unfortunately, the BPI claims the law is on their side.
It is illegal to import even one CD from outside the European Economic Area.
So by purchasing a discounted album from, say, North America, a crime is being committed.
BPI spokesman Matt Phillips defended the decision to sue CDWow.com and Play.com, saying: “Let’s get one thing straight — the BPI is not against people shopping for their music on the Internet.
“Online shopping is a great alternative way to buy your music and many people enjoy it immensely.
“But to buy cheap CDs from outside the EEA is illegal. If we find that products are sourced outside the EEA we would have to take action.”
However, CDWow.com insist they were given permission by the record companies to supply CDs worldwide.
The case is due to go before the High Court next month.