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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 06:26 GMT 07:26 UK
EU to probe DVD pricing
CD close-up
American DVDs are cheaper than those sold in Europe
The European Commission is to launch an investigation into the high price paid for DVDs by European consumers, the Financial Times has reported.

The newspaper says Mario Monti, the EU's competition commissioner, will tell a consumers' meeting in Stockholm that Brussels has written to Hollywood film companies asking about DVD pricing policies.

DVDs bought in America are cheaper than those available on this side of the Atlantic, but will not necessarily work on European DVD players.

DVDs cost between 13-20 in the UK, while US consumers pay just $15-$25 (11-18).

Regional system

The commission reportedly wants to investigate why the companies divide the world into regions which restrict where a DVD can be played.

Film companies have traditionally argued they use the regional system to facilitate the collection of royalties and prevent piracy.

But in previous speeches, Mr Monti has said there is a fine line between protecting intellectual property and abusing a dominant position.

The EU investigation follows complaints from consumers about high prices and the difficulties of ordering DVDs from the US.

The DVD market has grown fourfold in the last two years as consumers replace their videotape collections with the digital discs.

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See also:

28 May 01 | Business
Europe is no 'rip-off'
26 Mar 01 | New Media
Stopping the copying
26 Apr 01 | Business
Call to cut price of brands
26 Jan 01 | Business
CD price fix probe launched
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