Record companies sue CD retailer on web

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The Independent Online

The internet retailer CD Wow! could become the latest casualty in the vicious battle over online music copyright.

CD Wow!, which sells cut-price CDs, DVDs and computer games, is fighting allegations that it infringes UK copyright laws.

The British Phonographic Institute, which was set up in 1972 to represent the UK music industry, has mounted a legal challenge to CD Wow! on behalf of seven record companies, challenging its right to sell CDs to UK customers.

Theretailer in Hong Kong, founded in 2000, sells chart CDs for a flat rate of £8.99 including postage and packing. It is able to undercut high street retailers because it buys recordings cheaply from around the world. Its customers, not the company, are responsible for paying VAT under the UK's import laws.

The BPI, which is seeking an injunction against CD Wow!, is claiming that by sourcing its goods from outside Europe, the retailer is infringing the copyright of its members. The court case will start on 4 February and is expected to last two weeks.

The Irish Recorded Music Association, the BPI's counterpart in Ireland, is also suing CD Wow! although no court date has been set.