updated 02:05 pm EST, Mon February 13, 2006
RIAA warns users
Selling an old iPod model may not be as easy, or as legal, as one might think. According to MTVNews.com, the Recording Industry Assocation of America (RIAA) says it is illegal to sell an iPod that is pre-loaded with digital media content. "Selling an iPod preloaded with music is no different than selling a DVD onto which you have burned your entire music collection," the RIAA said in a statement. "Either act is a clear violation of U.S. copyright law. The RIAA is monitoring this means of infringement. In short: seller beware." MTVNews.com says the legality is a rather fuzzy issue, citing copyright and trademark lawyer Andrew Bridges, who works with eBay.
Bridges reportedly said: "I'm not sure the law is settled. If I'm a college student and I want to supplement my income by buying 100 iPods and taking my CD collection and putting it on those iPods and selling them at a significant premium, that's probably not going to fly. But if I've had my iPod Shuffle for two years and I'm tired of it and I go out and buy a 60GB video iPod and want to sell my old Shuffle, but don't want to purge the music first, that's probably legal."
"There is very clear provision in the statute that says that if you are in possession of a copy that has been lawfully made, you can distribute that copy without violating the copyright holder's copyright. That seems to suggest that there shouldn't be a case against a casual user disposing of copies they made for personal use when one is getting rid of one's own iPod."
The report says that the RIAA is "planning an educationsl effort to alert people to the illegality" of selling pre-loaded iPods, and is working with eBay to issue warnings to sellers of pre-loaded iPods. Cary Sherman of the RIAA said to MTVNews.com that "when you buy a CD, you have it for personal use on your computer or iPod, but you can't give it away and keep it for yourself... if everyone did that, [record labels] would only sell one CD."