In the words of Ali G, “What is legal?” In the case of Sony vs. popular online retailer Lik-Sang, importing PS3s, PS2s and PSPs into Europe from Japan is not. Judge Michael Fysh found Lik-Sang guilty of selling intellectual property rights that belonged to Sony, when it sold Sony PSPs to Europe. After the court ruling, a Sony rep stated:
The law is clear; grey importing PS2, PSP or PS3 into the EU, without the express permission of SCE is illegal. Therefore, we will utili[z]e the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who chose to do this. Ultimately, we’re trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards, due to voltage supply differences et cetera; is not – in PS3’s case – backwards compatible with either PS1 or PS2 software; will not play European Blu-Ray movies or DVDs; and will not be covered by warranty.
So far, Sony has only gone to court over the intellectual property rights of the PSP, not the PS3. But it seems as though it will do all it can to keep the PS3 from being imported into Europe, even go to court again. All this makes everything much harder for European gamers who are already facing a four month delay of the console. It also hurts Sony’s reputation in Europe, which is already plummeting since it couldn’t keep its promise of same day launch for all three markets. First no Gears of War in Germany, and now no PS3 importing in Europe, it looks like the gaming industry isn’t fitting in well with Europe at the moment.