Reselling loaded iPods is copyright infringement says RIAA

iLounge reports that RIAA has warned users not to sell iPods preloaded with music. RIAA told MTV

“Selling an iPod pre-loaded with music is no different than selling a DVD onto which you have burned your entire music collection…Either act is a clear violation of U.S. copyright law. The RIAA is monitoring this means of infringement. In short: seller beware.”

RIAA President Cary Sherman added:
“Unlawful reproduction or distribution is infringement…There is no fair use when someone is getting a complete copy of a work, especially a creative work and especially when it could have an adverse impact on the marketplace for selling or licensing that work. 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. That’s having your cake and eating it too. If everyone did that, [record labels] would only sell one CD.”
As a practical matter, the IPKat thinks it would be rather cumbersome and inefficient for users to remove all the music from their iPods before sale. As a legal matter, he wonders if there’s a role for exhaustion here. In Europe at least, if you buy a CD and you get fed up with it, you can resell it. The rights in it are exhausted. He notes that limiting the sale of preloaded iPods could limit the free movement of those iPods around the EU market, so perhaps there would be a justification for extending exhaustion to these circumstances.

EU anti-fraud body's logo used in fraud

Findlaw reports that OLAF, the European Union anti-fraud squad has warned that its logo is itself being used in a scam. Fake letters are being sent out accusing recipients of banking irregularities and seeking payment. OLAF’S press release is here.

The IPKat says, you couldn’t make it up…
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 13, 2006 Rating: 5


  1. One is minded to ask - what is the difference between two sales - one of an iPod and 10 CDs, the other of an iPod and 10 CDs, but with the CDs having been ripped and copied to the iPod?

  2. I agree with the 10 CD point. I suspect that the point was that people are selling the pre-loaded ipods and then keeping the record collection. Any rights that you have must disappear when the work is sold. It is like having a working copy of a computer program - you don't keep it if you then terminate the licence.

  3. The way it's been phrased however does seem to discourage the sale of an iPod with an entire music collection... regardless of whether the collection is entirely comprised of legally (paid) downloaded tracks. For example, it is not much cheaper to buy an entire album on iTunes than to buy a CD, but you are prohibited from selling on in the same way a CD buyer might? Surely there must be an exception?

  4. As The Stegz says, common sense dictates that there must be an exception if all you are doing is selling a collection of legally (paid) downloaded tracks. After all, there is no practical difference between buying a CD and on selling that CD at a later date.

    Unfortunately, common sense may be a thing of the past. If you can actually manage to locate the (current version) of terms and conditions under which you legally purchased the downloaded tracks, it is more likely than not that you have no right to sell (or even give away) that downloaded track.

    The freedoms that people used to enjoy under copyright law, ie the ability to sell a CD or a book, are currently being quietly removed by very underhanded tactics of roping in contract law. Copyright law is beginning to look positively benign compared with contract law. But then again, you agreed to the terms and conditions when you purchased your downloaded tracks!

  5. Firstly, selling ripped music from a CD whether you provide the original or not is a copyright violation in the UK any many other countries. Some countries allow "private use" copies, however even then it remains to be seen whether that right actually allows you to transfer the private use copy to another person as part of selling the original copy. In the UK, you don't even have the right to rip the music for your own personal use anyway, let alone sell that rip.

    Secondly, in terms of selling an iPod with music that you paid for - typically your payment was in return for a license for you to use the music, which terms may not allow for you to then transfer the license onto another party. This means that it all goes to the wording of the license / contract. I would hope that consumer groups, courts, the government and competition authorities would ultimately take a dim view of contracts that don't allow you to do this - it would be quite unfair to have spent hundreds of pounds on music and not be allowed to transfer ownership to another party. It would stifle all sort of legitimate down stream economic activity - e.g. to offer a range of iPod's preloaded with different categories of music, perhaps to people who don't have iTunes, or who don't want the hassle of doing the downloads for themselves.

  6. I'm NOT a supporter of the RIAA but your post yesterday which
    stated that "As a practical matter, the IPKat thinks it would be rather cumbersome and inefficient for users to remove all the music from their iPods before sale" is not quite accurate. It is very easy using the iPod Software updater to reset the iPod to factory configuration - all content is removed. A one-button 2 minute operation and frankly a good idea given that many folks have contacts
    and other personal info on their 'pods.


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