Sony Cracking Down On "Grey Importing"
It's certainly clear that Sony isn't playing around when it comes to illegal sales operations with regards to their products.
Sony has officially stated its intentions to prosecute companies for what it calls "grey importing" of its products from other regions to Europe. This, of course, includes the PS3, which has experienced a well-known launch delay over the Atlantic.
This announcement comes immediately after Sony's court victory against Hong Kong-based online retailer Lik-Sang (the second time the two have butted heads); this time over Lik-Sang's selling PSPs to European customers. The judge ruled in favor of Sony, and upheld Sony's claim that various "intellectual property rights" had been violated by the retailer's actions.
Further, Sony reinforced intentions to prosecute other retailers who sell the PS3 - launching in less than a month in Japan and the U.S. - to European citizens seeking to score a system for the holidays. As Sony stated:
"The law is clear, grey importing PS2, PSP, or PS3 into the EU, without the express permission of SCE is illegal. Therefore, we will utilise the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who chose to do this."
When prompted to explain the reasons behind the policy, Sony responded that they are trying to "protect" European consumers "from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, is not (in regards to the PS3) backwards compatible with either PS1 or PS2 software, will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs, and will not be covered by warranty."
As for possible repurcussions involving consumers who indirectly takes part in this illegal "grey importing," such as those who advertise PS3s on eBay and offer to ship the system overseas, a Sony representative currently had no comment.
10/23/2006 Ben Dutka