Sony wrongful tying

05 March 2007

Jeanne Méhaud

On 15 December 2006 the Nanterre first instance tribunal, following an action brought by UFC-Que Choisir - one of the leading French consumer associations - found against Sony in relation to claims of misleading consumers and wrongful tying practice.

Sony’s web platform, Connect, offers music files for download in a format called ATRAC3 in return for payment. These files cannot be played on players other than the Sony NW HD1. UFC-Que Choisir alleged that French consumers were not given proper information by Sony on these restrictions of use.

Sony was found liable on grounds of misleading consumers and wrongful tying practice. The Japanese firm was ordered to clearly draw the consumers’ attention to that restriction of use on the packaging of the products, and to release on its website a message informing consumers both of the terms of this judicial decision and of the fact that music files downloaded from Connect were restricted to use on Sony’s players. UFC-Que Choisir was granted €10.000 in lieu of damages.