Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Reduce seven-day trial for digital items: publishers

Staff Writer, with CNA

The nation’s publishing groups urged the central government yesterday to reduce the seven-day free trial period required on the sale of digital items, in response to the surging demand for such goods.

The four associations, Taiwan Digital Publishing Forum, Magazine Business Association of Taipei, Chinese Animation and Comics Publishers Association and Association of Taipei Publishers, jointly called for the government to amend the regulations.

The action came after the Taipei City Government earlier last month demanded that the local branches of Apple Inc and Google Inc add a seven-day free trial mechanism to their mobile phone software stores.

Based on the current Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法), online retailers must provide a free-trial period of at least seven days for items purchased on the Web.

This is because consumers cannot immediately try the goods that they have purchased online.

However, the publishing industry groups say that digital products such as e-books, music, games and application software often can be consumed within one day, so it is inappropriate to apply the seven-day free trial regulation.

Citing weekly magazines, which are published every seven days as an example, Magazine Business Association of Taipei Chairman Yu Kuo-ting (俞國定) said consumers can easily take advantage of a loophole built into the free trial period.

Publishers have to inflate the prices by up to 30 percent to respond to the situation, creating a vicious cycle, Yu said.

The four groups suggested the government offer separate free-trial mechanisms based on product categories.

For example, the first 10 minutes of movies through video-on-demand can be available for free trial. First chapters of e-books could also be free.

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