It’s a bad day for lovers of CD WOW!, the super-cheap U.K.-music website that one of your Idolators frequented for years (until .rar blogs came along, of course). In its heyday, most import-only discs on the site would go from anywhere between $12-$15, including shipping; the prices were so low because the albums were actually shipped from Hong Kong, a violation of European copyright law. CD WOW promised to stop the practice in 2004, but apparently they kept at it, earning them an $81 million fine yesterday:
At issue are long-standing copyright rules that allow music companies — and other intellectual property holders — to charge different prices in different markets for the same product. It has long been illegal to import CDs or buy downloads from outside the European Economic Area with a view to selling them on a cut-price basis…
Music is available much more cheaply in Asia than in the UK because it is believed that it is not possible to charge much in countries like India and China, where piracy is rampant.
Record companies charge wholesale prices estimated to be as low as £1 or £2, compared with £6 in the UK, making it theoretically possible to charge far lower prices if the items are imported.
We won’t even begin to try to understand the U.K. copyright system, as it seems to be about as hard to follow as cricket and season six of Are You Being Served? But we’ll be mighty un-chipper if if CD WOW! goes down: When it was in the early ’00s, and you really, really needed to hearcheap new music from NME-championed Brit-bores, it was the only place to go.
CD Wow pays high price for selling cheap music in UK [Times Online]