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Pre-loaded iPods raise legal concerns

updated 06:05 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2006

Pre-loaded iPods illegal?

Experts in digital copyright law are questioning the legality of loading copyrighted content onto iPods, even if users actually purchase that content. A new breed of online sales have emerged along with the miniature media players from Apple and other companies, where individuals load up the gadgets with copyrighted music and videos before selling them at marked-up prices online. A 60-gigabyte video iPod loaded with 11,800 songs was recently put up for auction on eBay with a starting bid of $799, but was removed by site staff members after it was discovered. "That is a copyright violation, one that we don't even need to hear from the rights owner about before removing," eBay spokesman Hani Durzy told USA Today. "Some of those sales may be legal, and some not," said Andrew Bridges, digital music lawyer at Winston-and-Strawn. Services like TVMyPod already pre-load iPods with content, but purchase the content for each individual iPod and ship the disks to customers along with the iPod itself. "The question that needs to be asked is, if you buy a DVD, are you allowed to put it onto an iPod?" TVMyPod co-founder David Onigman said.

by MacNN Staff





  1. rgbyhkr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The DMCA makes it illegal

    ""The question that needs to be asked is, if you buy a DVD, are you allowed to put it onto an iPod?""

    Unless there's some way to transfer the video from a DVD to the iPod (including necessary conversion since the iPod doesn't support the native DVD fromat) without circumventing CSS, it is illegal according to the DMCA. I disagree with the law in that I don't think it should be illegal, but it is indeed illegal. However, as video iPod usage grows, perhaps Joe Sixpack can raise enough of an uproar about it to have the law changed.

    As for the eBay auction, that's no real surprise. I don't think they'd allow you to sell burned copies of CDs. Sure, you could have filled the iPod with songs you legally purchased and then made sure to delete/destroy the songs in your possession after the sale so that the buyer was the only one who had them. But, that's a lot to ask eBay to be responsible for (they would almost certainly be named in a lawsuit by the RIAA should this type of transaction become commonplace).


  1. just a poster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The question that needs

    to be asked is, "Are copyright holders entitled to unlimited compensation solely through placing restrictions on fair-use distribution rights"?

  1. SDW2001

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ebay Double Standard

    It's ironic that I just read about ebay refusing to police people selling fakes of figurines, etc because of the size of the task and because they usually only go after listings when a copyright or patent owner's rights have been violated. Yet, they'll turn around and pull something like this.

    By the way...the provision of the law that disallows you to make personal copies by breaking the CSS is under review at present.

  1. m_young

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not a double standard

    ebay can't tell if the figurines are fake, and anyway, it's not illegal to sell fake figurines. they can tell that it is a violation of copyright law to sell an ipod full of content. It's not practical for them to investigate every little figurine, that's an area where the buyer should beware.

  1. Monstermind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ebay is Anti-Consumer

    Ebay is in the back-pocket of multi-billion dollar companies who want to squeeze every dime from working Americans. Their ridiculous policy about OEM software, and now this, are undeniable proof.

    if it hurts Ebay, it must be good.

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969


    huge can of worms

    no doubt then we will see ebay doing the "right thing" and taking off every single used computer that offers software on it?

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