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French Court Rules that Sony Deceived Consumers

Sony France and Sony United Kingdom have been convicted of misleading the French public for selling downloadable songs that only run on Sony music players. France’s Union Federale des Consommateurs (UFC) took Sony's French and British subsidiaries to court in February 2005 over the music download website Sony Connect. Sony was ordered to pay 10,000 euros to the UFC and to clearly state on its Net WM players sold in France that they will not play files purchased on other websites.

Music fil Sony France and Sony United Kingdom have been convicted of misleading the French public for selling downloadable songs that only run on Sony music players. France’s Union Federale des Consommateurs (UFC) took Sony's French and British subsidiaries to court in February 2005 over the music download website Sony Connect. Sony was ordered to pay 10,000 euros to the UFC and to clearly state on its Net WM players sold in France that they will not play files purchased on other websites.

Music files downloaded from the Sony Connect website are protected by digital rights management (DRM) software that prevents the files from running on any hardware other than Sony’s own players. Similarly, Sony’s players cannot run files purchased from other DRM-protected websites, such as Apple’s iTunes. The UFC successfully argued that Sony was “deceiving” consumers about the nature of its product and was also guilty of illicit product bundling, forcing consumers who purchase the Sony music player hardware to then buy downloads solely from the Sony Connect website. The court decision did not require that Sony stop using DRM technology.

There is also a pending lawsuit in France against Apple on similar grounds in relation to the iPod hardware and iTunes website operated by that company.

For additional information, visit:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070105/tc_afp/franceinternetmusic