Hong Kong-based retailer CD WOW! has vowed to slug it out over the £41 million in compensation it was ordered to pay for unlawfully importing product into the U.K., even if it means taking the matter to the European Court of Justice.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which won the May 29th London High Court award, has already begun steps to enforce it by asking for a freezing order on the retailer’s Hong Kong bank accounts and assets.
In March, the High Court found that CD WOW! had infringed copyright and broken legal undertakings by continuing to sell unlicensed product in the U.K. market.
"We are outraged by the judgment. We will fight this all the way to the European courts even if it takes another three years to win justice," commented CD WOW! co-founder Henrik Wesslen.
"There will be no let up on our part and CD WOW! will continue to trade now and in the future. We make tiny margins on our goods and it is the consumer who benefits not the big high street stores who rip off their customers by adding massive margins."
Many of the CDs the company sells are shipped from Hong Kong. Record companies charge different prices for CDs in different countries, and to protect those price differences they issue copyright licenses for the sale of CDs on a country-by-country basis. Selling a CD in the U.K. licensed only for Hong Kong, for example, infringes copyright.
The March High Court hearing was told how the BPI had made a number of test purchases and had been sent unlicensed CDs by CD WOW!, which said they were sent in error.
Judge Justice Evans-Lombe said he "unhesitatingly rejected" the claims that only human error was at fault.
He said there was "strong evidence" that CD WOW! was committing a widespread breach of the undertakings and was taking no effective steps to ensure compliance with them.
After the damages were announced, CD WOW! said it abides the laws.