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Sony threatens to bomb the homes of anyone in the UK importing a PS3


Angry the Clown
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OK so I might just be overreacting in my own unique and irritating way. The reality is they may only go as far as defecating on our doorsteps, but still, the long lasting court battle with importer Lik-Sang regarding the selling of PSPs has ended up in Sony?s favour and they?re using their victory as a warning to all those daring to sell and purchase imported Playstation 3s over the next six months. They?re trying to protect us apparently?

 

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=20489

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I can understand wanting to make sure that everything sold complies to the safety standards of various territories, but that begs the question, why can't the hardware conform to the applicable standards for ALL regions at once? If something is safe in the UK, but a fire hazard in Germany for example, why not just build to the higher standard (Unless, of course, this is impossible due to power restrictions, in which case importers would have to deal with voltage converters etc anyway).

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To be honest in major media source devices from reputable companies (consoles, DVD players...etc), there's very little threat beyond alternating voltage standards. Television manufacturing standards can differ from territory to territory quite widely as can - most commonly in this case- kitchen devices like microwaves, kettles, fridges...etc...etc and other homely devices like hairdryers, the materials used for making sofas, bed linen and also building materials.

 

A/V source devices from the well-known brands are normally built to a universal standard as I say so in saying preventing imports of PSPs and now PS3s that they are protecting consumers is a lot of nonsense. They might be protecting consumers from the fact that a warranty is likely to be void with imported hardware (though Nintendo don’t care with imported DSs, or MS with imported 360s), or protecting people from negligence in that if the buyer doesn’t have the common sense to use a suitable voltage converter with an imported console it’s likely to go ‘pop,’ but beyond that they’re primarily protecting themselves. It’s just like Sony managing to make it illegal in the UK to modify a Playstation 2 when they used the same excuse. Australia was smarter, they fought them on that just as they fought region coding restriction in DVD and won because in a world of free-trade, the consumer should be able to do as they wish. All they need to is accept they be dismissing a warranty in modifying something they own.

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Dan;

 

The reason I ask is because I have some experience in dealing with the export of goods. The company I work for is a large manufacturing firm that builds products for industrial purposes. My job is to draft the necessary export documents to clear these goods through customs. Obviously, a big part of my job is making sure that we are remaining compliant with US export laws, and we take great strides in order to do that. Whenever a customer orders one of our products with the intent of using it in another county, they have to not only describe what the end use will be but also the name of the company and where they are located. For instance, we may sell a product to a company in Germany, which will then apply our product into a machine they are building for use in Spain.

 

The reason we need to know this information is very simple: we need to ensure that our products will not end up in the hands of restricted parties (such as Osama Bin Laden for instance) and that we don't ship goods to embargoed countries such as Iran or Cuba. Obviously, if I try to ship something directly to said countries, I would wind up in heap big trouble. However, that doesn't mean that the same restriction applies worldwide. Germany, as far as I know, doesn't have an embargo placed on Iran. That doesn't mean though that I could ship my goods to Germany and ask the recipient there to forward it on to Iran for me in order to circumvent the restrictions I face. Since the product is shipping out of the US, it has to abide by US export regulations no matter what. So, I if I tried doing what I just described, I would still be in heap big trouble.

 

Now, if Sony is shipping Playstations out of Japan (or wherever they are made) to a company like Lik-Sang with the intent of selling the units in Hong Kong, there may be a possibility that Lik-Sang is putting Sony in danger of breaking Japanese export laws, because the product may be going somewhere that Sony does not intend it to be. In this instance, it would be fair to say that Sony is just trying to protect its own interests. However, it has more to do with the fact that another company is putting it at risk

 

That said, I don't have the level of expertise someone in our company's Import / Export Compliance department (yes, we have an entire department devoted to keep our shipments on legal ground), and the matter may be far more complicated than what I just described. Furthermore, I'm not exactly sure why Sony has been so adamant about halting the flow of goods in the UK, but not the US, since we know for a fact that there are no trade restrictions between Japan and Great Britain. Perhaps in the end it is just Sony trying to score higher profits in that region by restricting the flow of imported goods. As they say, follow the money.

 

Anyway, that's my take on the matter. I may be completely wrong about all of this, but whenever I see stories about this, I always wonder if there's more going on than most people realize.

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It's quite possible, Jeff, absolutely, but I think you hit it in saying Sony don't seem to be going after Lik-Sang shipping products to America, or Australia...etc. The court battle seems firmly EU related and over here, as EU consumers looking in on the whole argument, Sony have yet to show any evidence or make any claims for that matter that Lik-Sang is breaching any other such terms.

 

Lik-Sang have in fact made some comments in response to the court ruling and they're mighty defiant oveer the whole issue:

 

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=20536

 

Don't forget that Lik-Sang was not alone in the whole PSP importing fiasco. Sony went after a lot of UK based dealers as well, threatening them, even shutting some down. I'd be surprised if the PS3 surfaces here in March. I think summer is more likely the way things are going, which would be an exact repeat of the disastrously lengthy delay the PSP faced in coming to Europe.

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They get their goods directly as far as I know, Jeff. I could be wrong though.

 

Not as far as I know. The Asian imports deal with large distributors from around that area of the world, not directly with console manufacturers. Certainly, that's the impression they give in their commentary, and the likes of NCSX have said that's the case repeatedly in their very candid news section. They deal with different retailers & distributors for different products.

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trying to protect us apparently…

 

Didn't know I needed their help...

 

In any case, other than differences in electrical requirements for these machines, I really think games and systems between Europe and America should just be region free. Compact discs always were. If the goal of regional protection is piracy deterrence, I think it failed. Feel free to offer me some insight if I'm wrong, but either way I still don't see the point of all this regional stuff anymore. Considering how much you're all gonna have to pay for a PS3, Sony should be happy they're getting so many pre-orders to begin with. It could be a total flop and Sony will WISH people in Europe wanted one bad enough to go black market.

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I'm just curious here, as I don't know, but because the PS3 has an OS and localization and all that, could that be an issue? For instance (and I'm not sure I know the answer to this), does Apple, say, sell different MacBooks in the UK as they do in the US in terms of configuration outside of power supply? Aren't there OS localization and terms of use issues?

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I'm just curious here, as I don't know, but because the PS3 has an OS and localization and all that, could that be an issue? For instance (and I'm not sure I know the answer to this), does Apple, say, sell different MacBooks in the UK as they do in the US in terms of configuration outside of power supply? Aren't there OS localization and terms of use issues?

 

I'd imagine it's certainly possible for it to pose an issue if they wanted it to, but I'd be hard pressed to think up a reason why they might as far as the OS is concerned. In the specific case of Apple, or any other OS based laptop (and desktops too), you can pick one up in the States and set it up without any problems here. I've known a good few who have grab their ibooks and macbooks in New York in fact.

 

You could theoretically lock any aspect, be it an online one, to a territory though. This is my chief concern about getting the Virtual Console to work on an imported Wii in the UK. We wont know the answer until it is released. The 360 is great. You can import one from the US and still select your actual location on the dashboard without having to lie, and make use of all the Live goodies.

 

 

More Sony threats:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6076354.stm

 

They?re going to set Robocop on us, I swear.

 

They'll stop giving a shit once it's actually out in Europe of course.

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Semi-related:

 

Lik-Sang closes its doors.

 

Lik-Sang.com, the popular gaming retailer from Hong Kong, has today announced that it is forced to close down due to multiple legal actions brought against it by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Sony claimed that Lik-Sang infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights by selling Sony PSP consoles from Asia to European customers, and have recently obtained a judgment in the High Court of London (England) rendering Lik-Sang's sales of PSP consoles unlawful.
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I like this part:

 

Furthermore, Sony have failed to disclose to the London High Court that not only the world wide gaming community in more than 100 countries relied on Lik-Sang for their gaming needs, but also Sony Europe's very own top directors repeatedly got their Sony PSP hard or software imports in nicely packed Lik-Sang parcels with free Lik-Sang Mugs or Lik-Sang Badge Holders, starting just two days after Japan's official release, as early as 14th of December 2004 (more than nine months earlier than the legal action). The list of PSP related Sony Europe orders reads like the who's who of the videogames industry, and includes Ray Maguire (Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Alan Duncan (UK Marketing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Chris Sorrell (Creative Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Rob Parkin (Development Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited), just to name a few.

 

:flipoff Sony

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