Monday, January 15, 2007

More details on Sony case

Cedric Manara has helpfully sent some more information about the French Sony case. Sony France and Sony UK have been reprimanded by a French court because they do not warn consumers that the music they sell can only be played with Sony players. Sony UK offers music through a service called Connect, while Sony France offers something called Net Walkman, but nowhere in those two services it is stated that music is offered with ATRAC-3 proprietary DRM, which only plays in Sony players. Sony UK's practice was particularly thought to be tying (forcing them to buy Sony players if they buy from Connect).

Interestingly though, the court refused to enforce interoperability. After the implementation of DADVSI, French law allows courts to ask manufacturers to make adjustments to technical devices to allow for interoperability. While the ruling will allow consumers more information by forcing Sony to place a sticker on devices and better information on its websites, courts will not force interoperability. Some commentators believe that the courts will wait until the new interoperability ombudsman enacted by DADVSI comes into play.

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