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Sony Government Portables (Games) The Courts News

Lik-Sang.com Taken to Court By Sony 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lets-do-the-time-warp-again dept.
Joe writes "As published on Lik-Sang's Website Sony has taken legal actions against Hong Kong's largest exporter of videogames and videogaming gear. One month before the official european launch and 9 months after the initial release of the PSP, this action looks very late at first sight. Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can permit the resale of the japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong no matter if on the local market or for export, it looks like this is planned to be one of the not the bright marketing ideas of the Sony HQ. The japanese PSP has the same Region Code for UMDs as the ones which will be sold in europe in september. Since the shipping at Lik-Sang is free, the console is even cheaper to import than to buy it locally."
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Lik-Sang.com Taken to Court By Sony

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  • Cheaper? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Monday August 08, 2005 @08:58AM (#13268605)
    I'd comment but I need to go buy a PSP now
    • Re:Cheaper? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NiteHaqr (29663)
      Already done, and from Lik-Sang a few months ago.

      And its Firmware version 1.50.

      Will probably get another one from them when the white ones come out - then I can still do my SNES/Genesis emulation, as well as coding my own stuff as well as having all the cool new features.

      Its a pity really, as Sony would earn so much respect by allowing programmers to sign their own code - why cant they come up with a way of doing it that only works on files of say 200MB or less, thus allowinf homebrew, surely they could mak
      • Because they make their money on the software. The PSP costs them money.
      • Re:Cheaper? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        Its a pity really, as Sony would earn so much respect by allowing programmers to sign their own code

        Given the choice between earning respect and earning revenue, I'm pretty sure I know which one Sony would rather have.
      • The reason they won't do this is because size restrictions of homebrew programs mean nothing. Anyone with a good knowledge of the PSP hardware can write a program that loads a ripped UMD from the memory stick in 16KB of code or less. If you think nobody would do it, you obviously underestimate the so-called "homebrew" community. As much as I'd love for a mainstream console to embrace homebrew development, it probably won't happen. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.
  • by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:01AM (#13268626) Homepage
    Sony has taken legal actions against Hong Kong's largest exporter of videogames and videogaming gear

    This guy? [slashdot.org]
  • Region codes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by confusion (14388) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:02AM (#13268629) Homepage
    Those region codes are SO convenient for consumers. I just LOVE travelling abroad and not being able to watch my dvds. I shouldn't be suprised that SONY would think to do this with UMD too. bah.

    Jerry
    http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]
    • Re:Region codes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:07AM (#13268658) Homepage Journal
      yeah, it sucks.

      You can imagine my surprise when after reading all the crap about PSP games not being region encoded, then when UMD movies are finally available I can't play them.

      I got my PSP the first week of January. Imported from japan. It's nice that the Japanese PSPs can play US games and vice versa, and not that I would buy them if I could, but it sucks that I can't watch US UMD movies on my japanese PSP.
    • Re:Region codes (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Forzamilan (778203)
      You are totally right, region codes sucks and are an obsolete technology from the 80s when nintendo used it on their NES. Why do we have to buy another movie in region 4 when i already have it in region 1?
      • Re:Region codes (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You are totally right, region codes sucks and are an obsolete technology from the 80s when nintendo used it on their NES.

        Uh, what? They still perform a business function. How are they obsolete?

        Why do we have to buy another movie in region 4 when i already have it in region 1?

        Because different corporations own the rights to sell the movie in different parts of the world and the region code scheme enforces that. Look on your R1 DVD - it'll say "not for resale outside the US and Canada" or similar. If you are
        • Re:Region codes (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mad flyer (589291)
          Yes sir, it says not for resale.

          It don't forbid me to possess it and leave for another country.

          They should enforce the selling part, not the viewing part.

          By doing region coding they alienate the end user in order to try to conceal the sellers... As usual, customers are collateral damages...
        • Region coding isn't for enforcing resale rules. It is for fighting piracy. Because if it WAS for enforcing reselling rules, that would be price fixing, and it would be illegal.

          And this lawsuit is more of the same illegal shit. Sony have no right to prevent Lik-Sang from reselling these. This trademark law argument is so weak. They're not selling knock offs, they're selling legally aquired PSPs with the manufacturing trademark on them.

          What I don't understand is why so many dimbulbs on Slashdot stand up
        • "The world isn't a single global market - yet."
          You really could have fooled me. I would say that people are bent over region codes shows that we do live in a global market.
          Sorry guys get over it. The Internet and Fed Ex has made the world a much smaller place.
          • Trade is only free for capital. And even then only if you've got a lot of it. Or that seems to be what those with a lot of it want.

            When labor is as free to move as capital, I'll be fully converted. (when land is I'll be fucking amazed.)

  • by Willeh (768540) * <rwillem@xs4all.nl> on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:03AM (#13268633)
    Or some other type of fruit. First we have the whole dead pixel on psp debate, then the whole misunderstood OSX / linux debacle, then we get the crackdown of the grey import circuit in the UK, and now this? What gives, Sony? Don't you like money? Surely you don't give a flying fuck as to where people buy your overpriced, undermanufactured console and it's games? Also the price gouging you seem to do as evident in the summary i'm sure won't fly in the face of information and outcry on the internet and hopefully popular media will pick this up as well.

    Keep doing this, sony and you will be publicly humiliated (again) and fewer people will buy your stuff. Hell, even Microsoft isn't that evil. Try to control the market in such an evil way, and it will always come back and bite you in the ass.

    In summary: If Sony was an icecream flavor, they'd be pralines and dick.

    • You forgot the part about the iTunes Music Store Japan/Australia debacle.
    • by mac666er (591442) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:59AM (#13269462)

      Amen to that MR Willeh.

      I put a lot of value on design for the gadgets that I consume, hence I am a mac geek. However, a time came when I needed to run a Windows App and had to choose a laptop from the Wintel world.

      From all the available options, the VAIOs were by far the most appealing ones, so I bought a GRX. The only problem? How awfully they are manufactured and supported, as I later unfortunately found out.

      One day the thing just wouldn't recognize half of the RAM installed and sometimes it would freeze without any warning sign of any kind. When trying to find out what was wrong with it, I contacted SONY, and it showed me the finger. The official support site didn't mention anything and the help line guys told me that I needed to send in the laptop and pay a service fee at my expense just to see what was going on.

      I later found out in here [hardwareanalysis.com] that the problem was indeed common (pins one to ten in the first memory socket were not soldered properly), that SONY knew about it for a long time, and still didn't EVEN put it in a website as a potential problem that could arise in a VAIO.

      To this day (three and a half years after its release) SONY still hasn't aknowledged the faulty motherboard problem. Now, I really am not that picky as not to buy a product from a company that has had this kind of problem, because in the end, every company has had their fair share. But SONY has this strange corporate attitude.

      Nice ideas, but... beats me. No wonder their shares have been tanking [digitalconnectmag.com]. I can tell you I will NOT buy a VAIO again and I wished there were some sort of AMAZON store for laptops with a similar "rating and comments" system where I could put this experience up.

      If you are thinking of buying a VAIO... DON'T.

      • Yeah, it is kinda sucky that the memory slots fail on the grx models. But as it is not a safety issue, they are not going to admit to it.

        There is an easy work around, just use one slot. Also, there is no service fee to check out the notebook; there is a minimum fee to get the notebok repaired. If you are not willing to pay the aprox. $300, then don't bother sending it in. But, If it is more, than you can get it sent back at no charge.
      • Sony's attitude towards problems with their products sucks, but that's not even the worst part. The real reason to hate Sony is their love for proprietary formats, DRM, and anticompetitive business tactics (as we see here).
      • Sony is running on fumes. That is why their stock price has been shooting down. They make crap, sell it at a high price, and refuse to support it. This is all possible because the Sony name once stood for quality. I suspect they have licensed the name out to cheap third world manufacturers and allowed them to stamp it on poorly built garbage just because the name will increase sales. I along with many people will never buy another Sony product unless they drastically turn themselves around.
  • Say that again? (Score:5, Informative)

    by scovetta (632629) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:04AM (#13268638) Homepage
    Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can permit the resale of the japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong no matter if on the local market or for export, it looks like this is planned to be one of the not the bright marketing ideas of the Sony HQ.

    Sorry, I don't mean to be the grammar-police on Monday morning, but that's just plain terrible.

    I'll translate:

    Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can permit the resale of the Japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong (whether or not they are available for export), this seems to be a rather poor marketing idea coming from Sony's headquarters.
    • Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

      by The Hobo (783784)
      I couldn't decipher the summary properly until I read the parent's post
    • Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can permit the resale of the japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong no matter if on the local market or for export, it looks like this is planned to be one of the not the bright marketing ideas of the Sony HQ.

      The submitter clearly pulled this text straight from Lik-Sang's English website. Can you see that I am serious?!??

    • is the only way to read it that makes any sense to me. They're *trying* to prevent it, why would they want to permit it?

      In conclusion, never rely solely on Babelfish when trying to write something in a foreign language.
  • by hedgehog2097 (688249) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:05AM (#13268643)
    It's not blocking the huge Lik-Sang advert on the front page of slashdot.

    Is there a setting I missed?
  • English (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    motherfucker, do you speak it?


    (apparently not)
  • by defile (1059) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:10AM (#13268673) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense lawsuits are only shown to be nonsense lawsuits after lots and lots of money is spent.

    I have no idea how big Lik-Sang is, I just bought a GBA transfer cable from them awhile back once. For legitimate purposes, honest!

    • Lik-Sang has been sued by just about all of the major console players over the years, so I'm guessing that they'll be able to handle this latest attack. Go browse their site, and you'll see that they definitely push the envelope with some of the products they sell.
  • Region Codes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0olong (876791) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:11AM (#13268678)
    IANAL but to me it seems like region codes are an obstruction of free trade. Why wouldn't any judicial or legislative body speak out against this?
    • Re:Region Codes (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      For the same reasons they don't speak out against all the other obstructions of free trade?

      If you're going to get upset about the lack of free trade, I suggest you concentrate your efforts in areas like agriculture, raw materials and the draconian so called free trade agreements the West is making with Africa, South America and parts of Asia, rather than whine about how you have to spend more of your allowence to play games or movies.
    • In a word, licensing.
      If Sony licenses a song, or a character, or something for use with any of their games, that IP could have a regional license that says that they can use that IP only in certainly countries.
      And this goes for any game company- Nintendo, Sega, EA, and even MS and Sony.
    • Free trade (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pieterh (196118) on Monday August 08, 2005 @11:29AM (#13269767) Homepage
      It's charmingly naive to believe that juidicial or legislative bodies are concerned with free trade. Mainly, they represent power interests and as such the laws created by and for those interests. "Free trade" comes onto the agenda when there is an advantage to be gained: mainly, in access to a market otherwise protected by anti-import legislation.

      As another poster in this thread pointed out, free trade is rarely done out of principle, not even by institutions such as the WTO that claim this as their reason for existence.

      Thus, the USA can subsidise its own cotton farmers to the point where countries like Niger cannot sell their cotton on the world market for a fair price. That's ok. But when Airbus get cheap loans from governments, that's not ok.

      "Free trade" is excellent in theory and nice when it actually happens, but don't imagine it's the top priority for many people except economists.

      Your games are region-protected because as a consumer, you don't actually have any rights except to spend / not spend your money. If you don't like companies that rip you off, don't buy their products.
    • Free trade is an idea dreamed up by huge corporations looking for easy money.

      Region coding is an idea dreamed up by huge corporations looking for easy money.

      Politicians get elected using bribes from the large corporations.

      Is it really that hard to see why region coding and free trade can coexist?
  • Constant Target (Score:4, Informative)

    by ChrisF79 (829953) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:14AM (#13268700) Homepage
    Lik-Sang has been a constant target for legal issues in the past. I remember a couple of years ago they were selling lots of mod chips and other "hacks" for systems until Nintendo (I believe) put an end to that. I doubt this is the last time we'll read about a Lik-Sang lawsuit in the near future.
  • by PhotoBoy (684898) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:15AM (#13268707)
    Since the shipping at Lik-Sang is free, the console is even cheaper to import than to buy it locally.

    It is not cheaper to import to the UK. While the price at Lik-Sang for a PSP minus shipping is cheaper than what the UK PSP price will be, you will always get charged import tax plus. Customs seem to know Lik-Sang and they always slap on the import tax. Plus the courier e.g. UPS, DHL et al always put a surcharge on top of the tax because they pay the tax for you at customes and then demand a cheque when they arrive at your door.

    So overall it comes out to be more expensive to import by about £20 or so. Still, if importing annoys Sony then I'm all for it, since I don't see why they should be allowed to dictate who can and cannot sell PSPs, it's just a monopoly.
    • I had a run in with lik sang over that.

      I bought a GBA cartridge thing... the item was £100. Customs decided it was worth more than that added another £50 to it. UPS then decided it was worth some more and added another £50 'handling fee'.

      UPS guy turns up at my door and demands £100 cash for this thing I've already paid for. I told him to fuck off, naturally...

      Lik sang refused a refund *and* kept the item. They even sent a pissy email daring us to do anything about it... hardly pr
    • Keep in mind that while importing may bring the total cost up to MSRP for you, Sony is sure getting less than if you bought it from Sony Europe.
  • Fiction. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Since the shipping at Lik-Sang is free, the console is even cheaper to import than to buy it locally."

    By the time you've added the UPS Handling Fees, VAT and import duty, it is NOT cheaper.

    • There shouldn't be any import duty, but even with just VAT, it will come in at £184 as against the £179 expected launch price. £5 isn't that much for early bragging rights though.
  • Global market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jurt1235 (834677) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:25AM (#13268767) Homepage
    I thought companies want a global market and are pressing the G7/8 (depends on how you count) to help them in that. But when the market acts back in a global way by protesting against region codings, delayed movie releases (thus watching the copies from the internet), the same companies protest by using their legal means and shear size.

    In short: Sony, stop acting like a little kid, just be global, dump region codings, dump price strategies and just sell you products for a fair price all over the globe.
    • they're not acting like a child, children don't have that amount of control and hubris.

      they're acting like illegal monopolies.

      why people continue to buy their shit is beyond me.

      stop supporting these assholes with your money.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:29AM (#13268786)
    "Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can prohibit the resale of the japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong no matter if on the local market or for export,"

    It is true, the sales themselves cannot be stopped. However, as UK importers have learned recently to their chagrin, you selling them can be stopped. All Sony has to do is claim that you are using their trademark on the term "PSP" without their permission, and you'll be forced to sell "popular black handheld video game unit from a major manufacturer of electronic devices," something that just doesn't get many hits in a search engine.
  • Greed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrashRoX (783286) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:33AM (#13268811)
    Sony is being greedy over a few dollars. This company is buying and selling mass amounts of usits. Sony should be happy they are getting there wholesale rate, im sure it doesnt change that much from country to country, its all relative. The whole point of internet commerce is having the ability to find competitive prices and order from anywhere in the world.
  • Boo Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nmaster64 (867033) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:41AM (#13268852)
    See, companies like Sony complain about people importing their products, but if they'd just bring their products to us quicker, this wouldn't happen. Can someone give me one good reason they couldn't launch the PSP in Europe at the same time they launched it in America? If companies can make it more of a priority to bring products to overseas markets quicker, or at all in many cases, than they are going to have to deal with the reality of importing as a consumer solution. For the record, I totally back Lik-Sang.com. They're where I import my Gamecube games from. Awesome site. Down with Sony!
    • Re:Boo Sony (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TobyWong (168498)
      I think initially they were worried they would not be able to produce enough PSPs to meet demand. After all they "soft launched" in north america due to uncertainty about how well it would be received.

      Looking at how many titles have come out since launch and at the extremely immature state of the PSP firmware(nice "user-friendly" filesystem you got there sony), this thing was not ready for release anywhere. This is a device that is capable of some very impressive things but limped out of the gates with s
    • > Can someone give me one good reason they couldn't launch the PSP in Europe at the same time they launched it in America?

      Sure. Here's two.

      - Localization for the 5 major European languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian and German), and support for any others (Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norweigan, Russian, etc, etc). Despite what you might think, these take time.
      - Sony's couldn't manufacture PSPs fast enough to support all three markets at the same time.
  • Who cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:47AM (#13268888) Journal
    Couldn't careless what Sony say. I just bought a DS and it truely deserves to be called innovative. Keep your PSPs and whatever else. When you have a game as fun as Zoo Keeper is then maybe I'll look.

    Untill then go back to pulling tricks like this and even the Sony fanboys will hate you
    • What's this Zoo Keeper, you say? I'll have to go fire it up on the PSP GBA emulator!

    • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

      by monopole (44023) on Monday August 08, 2005 @12:05PM (#13270196)
      Having both the PSP and a DS I agree completely. In particular I've got a Play Yan (imported via Lik-Sang), an I actually prefer to use use the DS for video playback, particularly w/ the firmware upgrade. While the screen is smaller, the DS is compact, much more rugged, and has a fantastic battery life. The Play Yan takes dirt cheap SD cards , and uses a very efficent MP4 compression (with the new firmware) which allows me to store 5+ hours of video on a single 1 GB card. On the other hand the PSP is more expensive (while the play yan jacks up the price of the total package, you make out on the cost of the SD cards) far more fragile, and 1 GB of MS Duo costs more than a DS! Finally, even if I did break down and buy a 1GB Memory Stick I wouldn't have the battery life to watch the contents.
      The PSP is a Jaguar overpriced, flashy, and not too practical, the DS is a VW, a little cramped but cheap, reliable and has great gas mileage.
      • The PSP is a Jaguar overpriced, flashy, and not too practical,


        A Jaguar, [albersdoerfer.de] huh? I thought those disappeared years ago. I didn't think they were very flashy, either.

        </sarcasm>
  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:56AM (#13268967) Homepage
    Regarding regions and when it will be released here in Europe, I don't see the trouble for Lik-Sang. Sonys own fault...

    Lik-Sang FTW.
  • by lightspawn (155347) on Monday August 08, 2005 @11:06AM (#13269538) Homepage
    Not so portable any more, is it?
  • It's the same trick as Levi used to stop Tesco (a supermarket) selling imported Levi jeans at low prices in the UK. Lev i won [bbc.co.uk], so it's likely Sony are going to get their way too (though IANAL).
    • The big difference in the two cases, of course, is that Tesco was importing the jeans into the UK for resale (which the Trade Marks Act of 1994 makes illegal without the consent of the trademark holder) and Lik Sang is not - individuals are importing the systems from Lik Sang who are based in Hong Kong. IANAL either, but that's a very significant difference, and as far as I'm aware individual consumers are perfectly entitled to import whatever they want.
  • No Sympathy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Monday August 08, 2005 @12:47PM (#13270626) Homepage
    I feel no sympathy for any company that creates artifical scarcity using anything similar to region-codes.

    Leave it to them to decide not to bring a game to the US and then complain whenever people from the US import it from Japan or Europe, saying that we're making them lose money.

    We're buying their product. At a higher price than normal. And WE get bitched at?! Why should I have to wait a year or more for a game if I can read Japanese and want to play it when it comes out in Japan?

    Why should I have to import a DVD player if I move to Japan or Europe? Oh, I know. So that they can make more money by locking out entire continents.

    In retrospect, I still have no sympathy. And I'm actually surprised that the US doesn't have 5 region codes.
    • i'm surprised you still hold them in high esteem.

      if you go to your local brick and mortar and decided to buy a high priced high margin item and the owner told you to fuck off.... you'd be back the next day to give more money to the store?

      how about WAKE THE FUCK UP!!

  • Simple: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arkan (24212) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:54PM (#13271991)
    Don't buy it. Show Sony that they're doing the wrong thing when suing right and left when people try to give them money. Tell them with the only thing they understand: money. Or the lack of, actually.

    --
    Arkan
  • Brilliant! (Score:3, Funny)

    by uhlume (597871) on Monday August 08, 2005 @03:54PM (#13272655) Homepage
    Since it's highly doubtful that Sony can permit the resale of the japanese PSP consoles in Hong Kong no matter if on the local market or for export, it looks like this is planned to be one of the not the bright marketing ideas of the Sony HQ.

    Allow me to be the first to congratulate the article submitter on his clever literary device: the writeup itself reads like a poorly-translated Japanese video game. Highly apropos!
    • <scoff type="x-snooty/nasal" class="upper">But Lord Fountleroy, affectations whence and once put upon do nothing but to reinforce one's demeanor and bearing with the riff and the raff; why, ask anyone - even Count Bonguledorf, that blathering buffoon - all one need exercise is the lexicon the proletariat excise, and one should promptly be the fluff in the pompadour's pomp!</scoff>

      What, did you train at the Montgomery Burns school of tact? Or, do you think introducing words you learned from manp
  • The real issue here is money. Why is Sony suing Lik-Sang? It's because Japanese PSPs are much cheaper than American or European PSPs (if they've even come out in Europe) while being practically the exact same product.

    Sony sells the Japanese PSP for 20790 Yen after tax in Japan which is equivalent to 186.11 dollars (source Google). Sony sells the US PSP for 249.99 before tax. This means that Lik-Sang makes 63.88 dollars on each PSP they sell minus shipping if they bought these PSPs at retail.

    Obviou

  • What I don't get is that Sony are going after these people on the basis of trademark violation. With both the Lik-sang case and the other 2 local cases in the UK (which they won), they have based their case on the fact that the retailer is violating their trademark by advertising the product and displaying images of it.

    If that is the case, why aren't they going after Game, Dixons and HMV, all of which have adverts prominently displayed in their stores advertising the PSP with images ?

    Why can they use their
  • Sony screwed up their UK launch BADLY. People were psyched about it coming out here in March, and that didn't happen. As a result, almost everyone I know who wants a PSP has got one, either by ordering from Lik-sang or a local retailer who Sony recently sued out of business.

    Sony have lost the wow factor for the launch. Instead of the mass stampede down to the shops that they need, not just for UK sales figures but also for marketting / mindshare purposes, they're going to get significantly fewer sales. This

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