UK recorded music industry awarded substantial damages against CD Wow

July 2007

Record labels

The High Court has ruled that that web based ‘Etailer’ CD Wow must pay significant compensation for illegal imports into the UK and the British Phonographic Industry, representing the major record labels, has obtained freezing order over CD Wow’s Hong Kong assets. The Hong Kong based business had been illegally importing CDs and music DVDs into the UK from outside the EEA and the damages, estimated to be £40 million, is the largest damages award ever made in favour of the BPI. BPI General Counsel Roz Groome, who spearheaded the industry’s six-year case said: “CD Wow have consistently broken the law, ignored High Court rulings, and have continued to trade illegally throughout. Clearly the courts have lost patience with this rogue retailer and the message is clear; any company seeking to engage in this type of illegal trade will face the toughest sanctions. The BPI will use this landmark ruling to take firm action against any other retailers that import illegally.” The sum awarded to the record industry represents damages and interest for the infringements of copyright that the retailer has caused since January 2004. This award follows the court’s finding in March 2007 that CD Wow was in substantial breach of the undertakings it gave to the court in January 2004 that it would not illegally import CDs into the UK and Ireland. Following a 4-day trial in March 2007, Judge Evans-Lombe ordered a damages inquiry which was due to take place in July. CD Wow’s failure to co-operate with the court’s orders for disclosure and payment of security resulted in the judge’s assessment of damages last week, without delaying the matter until July.

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