The only legal way to get music into iPods in Australia is effectively Apple’s iTunes Music Store

“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,” Alex Malik writes for Crikey. “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,” Malik writes. “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?”

Full article here.

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Just when did the Australian public agree to this situation? That would be when they voted in the lawmakers who effectively crafted the Australian Copyright Act which still, in 2005, fails to address this issue adequately according to Malik. We’re not lawyers, so we’re not entirely sure that it’s even illegal to rip CDs in Australia. If it is illegal to rip CDs, Apple didn’t write the Australian Copyright Act nor do they write amendments to the Act. Don’t blame Apple for an outdated Australian law that prohibits CD owners from using the music contained on such discs on their iPods.

The Australian Copyright Tribunal consists of a President and any number of Deputy Presidents and other members appointed by the Governor-General. The Tribunal presently consists of a President, a Deputy President and three members.

The Secretary
Copyright Tribunal
Level 16, Law Courts Building
Queens Square
Sydney NSW 2000.
Tel: (02) 9230 8567 (9am-4pm)
Fax: (02) 9230 8535

The Governor-General:

Related articles:
Australia’s million iPod users are all breaking piracy laws – September 21, 2005

Related articles:
Apple passes 600 million iTunes Music Store songs sold milestone – October 25, 2005
Analyst: Sony BMG’s boycott of Apple’s iTunes Music Store Australia won’t last long – October 24, 2005
Coles Myer to carry Apple iTunes Music Store Cards in Australia – October 24, 2005
Apple launches iTunes Music Store Australia – October 24, 2005
Report: If Apple launches iTunes Music Store Australia tomorrow, Sony BMG won’t be included – October 24, 2005
Japan music labels look to impose ‘iPod Tax’ while Sony, Warner still not signing with Apple iTunes – October 10, 2005
Why aren’t Sony, BMG, Warner, Victor making their artists’ music available on Apple’s iTunes Japan? – October 06, 2005
Sony and Warner holding out on Apple iTunes Music Store Australia – September 08, 2005
Musicians stage mutiny against Sony, defiantly offer music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 10, 2005
Record company causes Apple to hit ‘pause’ on Australian iTunes Music Store – May 05, 2005


  1. Apparently it’s illeagal to record TV to video tape. Or radio to cassette. But why can I go to a public library, and join for FREE and borrow a book,CD,tape,video,DVD etc for FREE. How do writters make any money.

  2. There is no way in hell to police this. How many of you naughty boys and girls have stockpiles of your fav TV shows on video tapes. It’s like smoking. Here in Australia it is quite legal to smoke but you must be within X amount of feet from the entrance to a government building. The government are the ones selling the smokes. The fine is 2000 bucks here in Tassie. But to the best of my knowledge after a couple of years of this, no one has been busted for smoking.

  3. “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”

    Since when does duplicating digital files create a generational loss in sound quality? If you buy a high quality digital file from a non-Apple source, burn it to CD then rip it into iTunes, you don’t lose quality unless you set the file to be lower quality somewhere in the process. The author is still in analog mode. Regardless, if I were in Australia, I would rip my CDs and wait for someone to try to bust me on it. Go for it Aussies…if you bought the CD, it’s your music to move onto your iPod. Illegal or not, it’s not wrong or immoral to do that for your own use.

  4. Ripping CDs is also technically illegal in the UK too. ‘Fair Use’ doesn’t exist here, it’s an American thing. What is ‘considered’ fair use and will probably never be prosecuted is still illegal. What’s bad is tat if a government wanted to stitch someone up, say a George Galloway type, they can sometimes use unfair laws against them unjustly prosecuting them and ruining them for something most people do and most people would not be prosecuted for even if the authorities could prove that they’d done something so heinous as to rip a CD.

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