Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Sunday, August 12, 2007

iPod law eases for music, not!

Yes, I’ve not-so-subtly altered yesterday’s Herald headline for the title – but it’s almost true. The article misses the point that music companies can opt-out of letting you copy the music you have bought to the iPod you have bought. It’s not clear whether they need to put a ‘no iPods’ sticker on the CD cover to opt out, or whether some dense legalese inside to the effect that the musics may not be format shifted unless required by law would suffice. Either way, the music industry is not being required to let you use your iPod legally. The Select Committee’s analysis on this (warning, big PDF) makes it clear that they thought about this problem but decided not fix it.

The end result is: you can still be sued by music companies for copying your CDs to your iPods. That’s how they like it. Nothing changes. Sigh.

posted by colin at 9:45 am  


  1. So if under 81A (2) the legality of format shifting is to be subject to contract terms, if any, then I suppose this means the purchase contract when you buy the CD or whatever. This purchase contract is with the retailer. If this is the case, what is to stop you agreeing a verbal contract with the retailer, to the effect that format shifting is ok?
    If I buy on that basis, it is a condition of the purchase contract, and format shifting is permitted.

    Comment by Peter Hewett — 12 August 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Yes, if you can get a CD sales person to agree to such a thing, and if the shop will stand behind it. I suspect the sales staff are briefed about what they can and can’t say about their merchandise, though. When I’ve asked CD sales assistants to guarantee that particular titles will play on a computer they have always said that it’s at my own risk and they won’t accept the disc as a return if it won’t play.

    Comment by colin — 13 August 2007 @ 8:44 am

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