A few weeks ago, a French Court fined Sony UK, the operator of Connect Europe. French consumers can download music files from this commercial platform, but only files in ATRAC 3 format; Such files can be played on Sony players only. To the court, this practice infringes article L. 122-1 of the French consumer code, which forbids "tying" practices. Pursuant to the French consumer code, it is prohibited to make the provision of a service subject to the purchase of a product. The fact that the consumers must purchase the product from a third company is indifferent to the application of this Consumer code provision.
Why is this ruling of interest to the registrars? Sony UK sells files online. Registrars sell domain names. How do registrars get paid? Purchasers use their credit card. This means the purchase of a domain name is subject to the purchase of a credit card. Conclusion: All registrars which do not let their French customers use a payment tool which is not free of charge, are subject to fines, as Sony UK was.