A CD player that can’t play “copy-protected” CDs is not defective.

Kristian K???ntopp points to an interesting decision of a court in Aachen, Germany. Plaintiff has bought a new car, including CD player, in 2002. The car’s CD player is unable to play copy-protected CDs. Plaintiff sues for abatement of purchase pric…

Kristian Kntopp points to an interesting decision of a court in Aachen, Germany.Plaintiff has bought a new car, including CD player, in 2002. The car’s CD player is unable to play copy-protected CDs. Plaintiff sues for abatement of purchase price, claiming that the CD player is defective, and for damages, claiming that he should have been notified about the player’s inability to play copy-protected CDs.The court finds that the CD player is not defective.Buyers of a new CD player can assume that a CD player is able to play Compact Discs that comply with the Philipps and Sony specifications. Buyers can’t assume that a CD player is able to play “any medium that resembles a Compact Disc.” The court doubts that copy-protected CDs can even be legitimately called “CD”.A different conclusion could be possible if the actual market for CDs consisted mostly of non-standard media. This is not the case: Less than 10% of all CDs sold in Germany between 2001 and 2003 were copy protected.Plaintiff also doesn’t get damages for lack of notice: Given the small portion of non-compliant CDs in the marketplace, playing copy-protected CDs can’t be considered the usual purpose of a CD player. Hence, vendors are not held to notify buyers that their compliant devices are unable to play certain (or all) non-compliant CD media.