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cd-wow fights BPI over imported CDs

Round One to BPI

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The music industry last week won an important legal battle in its bid to prevent discount etailer cd-wow from selling imported CDs in the UK.

Music labels, lead by trade group the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), are seeking an injunction and claiming damages from Music Trading On-Line (HK) Ltd, the firm behind cd-wow, for the sale within the Europe of CDs imported from Hong Kong.

These CDs are genuine but their sale in Britain contravenes the UK's Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the claimants argue.

In responding to the August 2002 action, Music Trading On-Line sought to limit the scope of the case by arguing that the British Phonographic Industry was not entitled to act as representatives of the whole industry against it.

However in a High Court ruling, published last week, this application was dismissed. The British Phonographic Industry is entitled to act for the whole industry in an action seeking to limit the sale of parallel imported CDs, the Vice Chancellor Right Hon. Sir Andrew Morritt ruled.

The senior judge has turned the case back to lawyers representing Music Trading On-Line and the British Phonographic Industry, whose hand has been strengthened by the Vice-Chancellor's ruling, to reach an agreement. He will consider the case again if the parties fail to agree terms.

cd-wow is yet to return our requests for comment on the case. ®

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