EU Court Nixes Austria’s Price Controls on Books

     (CN) – Austria’s rules on the price of imported books are incompatible with European Community law, the Court of Justice ruled. “The protection of books as cultural objects can be achieved by measures less restrictive for the importer,” the court ruled, “for example, by allowing the importer … to fix a retail price for the Austrian market.”

     LIBRO operates 219 bookstores in Austria, and 80 percent of its books are imported. The chain advertised German-language books that were less expensive than the minimum price set by the Austrian government.
     The Fachverband trade association complained, and the lower and appellate courts held that the Austrian price controls were “justified for cultural reasons and by the need to maintain media diversity.”
     Europe’s highest court disagreed and struck down Austria’s price controls on imported books.

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