Gift-giving season is almost here, and it’s
very likely that this festive season you, or someone you know, will receive an
iPod. But be wary – by giving someone an iPod this Xmas you may also be giving
them a whole lot of legal trouble.

Apple’s iPod has already been proclaimed by the
music industry as its saviour. Yet ironically, the iPod does not come with any
music pre-loaded onto its system. When initially purchased an iPod
contains no more music than an old-fashioned Walkman containing a
blank cassette. So, where can you get music to populate an iPod? There are only two
effective choices. Either you obtain your music from Apple’s iTunes service, or
you potentially breach the copyright of Apple and the record companies by
obtaining the music from elsewhere.

Despite a long running government inquiry, you
still can’t legally rip CDs you have purchased onto your computer, and convert
them into iPod compatible files. You can’t even buy digital music files from a
non-Apple related provider and play them on your iPod without breaching the
copyright attached to Apple’s proprietary system. Unless of course you purchase
the digital music from the non-Apple related provider, burn it onto CD, lose a
generation of sound quality and then rip it. So, effectively you have to obtain
your music from Apple’s iTunes or you risk being branded a lawbreaker.

Technology was supposed to make music more
freely available to the wider community. Instead we have Australia’s
most popular piece of hardware being supported by a single, limited service. Just
when did the Australian public agree to this new monopoly?

To read more, click here.