French consumer unions fight CD copy protection

By EDRi · July 19, 2003

In a first result of legal procedures against record companies instituted
by two French consumer unions, EMI Music France is condemned for deception.
Within a month, they must print the following warning on copy protected
CD’s: ‘Attention, this CD cannot be read by all players or car-radio’s.’

Late in May, the 2 unions started legal procedures against several major
record companies in order to fight copy protection on CDs. The Union
Fédérale des Consommateurs (UFC-Que Choisir) deposited complaints in the
courts of Paris against EMI Music France, Warner Music France, Universal
Pictures Video as well as the distributors Auchan and FNAC. The consumer
union CLCV (Consommation, Logement et Cadre de Vie) brought complaints
against EMI, Sony and BMG in the court of Nanterre. The unions wish to
establish that copy-protection is illegal.

The unions want to defend the right to make private copies, made impossible
by copy protection. Another disadvantage of copy protection they wish to
fight is the fact that many CDs cannot by played on many players, like
players built into computers. Finally the unions argue that artists are not
asked for consent.

The UFC accuses the music industry of giving consumers a bad conscience
with false facts. In reality last year record sales in France increased
with 10 percent. On top of that, users of recordable CD-ROMs paid about 135
million Euro in copyright levies, an increase of 44 percent compared with
2001. According to the UFC, this is an adequate compensation for artists
and producers.

In response to the legal procedures, the director of SNEP, the French
phonography-association acknowledged that record companies made speed
prevail above precaution. The technique behind copy protection ‘was not
entirely satisfying’ according to the director. Sony music immediately
responded with the announcement to stop copy protection on its CDs.

CDs protégés: La CLCV fait condamner EMI Music France (25.06.2003)

CD protégés: les associations de consommateurs attaquent les majors
(The article contains direct links to the French press releases by the unions)