Big record firms blocking imports, says watchdog

2 October 2002
More legal news

03 October 2002

Competition watchdogs have accused major music companies of blocking retailers from importing cheaper CDs from Europe.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said "certain" of the five major record companies, which account for three-quarters of UK sales, have given discounts on UK-originated products to retailers that agreed not to import, and threatened those that did not with less promotional support.

It said record companies issue special editions of some CDs for the UK market, effectively hindering purchasers from buying them elsewhere.

The OFT cannot prosecute them retrospectively, and it has no evidence that the practice is continuing, although it would welcome any further evidence.

But a spokesman for high-street music shop HMV said the report did not take the nature of the music business into account.

"We source primarily from the UK and only import on request or as a last resort," he said.

"We often stock international editions alongside UK discs for customer choice. Music is not a homogeneous commodity and should not be treated as such."


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