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 Don’t blame Apple for an outdated Australian law that prohibits CD owners from using the music contained on such discs on their iPods.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.

  5. Another gratuitous comment from MDN. Obviously the people who run MDN haven’t read the explanations I’ve written (five or six times) on this site.

    I say gratuitous and I quote MDN “Just when did the Australian agree to this situation? That would be when they voted in the lawmakers who effectively crafted the Australian Copyright Act…”

    So MDN when was the last time most Americans had any idea how the two arms of government functioned in the USA? For that matter when was the last time more than sixty per cent of the population voted for their President? FDR????

    I don’t know what Americans do with dated laws where no-one is prosecuted but in Australia we ignore these laws. However the way MDN”s editorial comments are going I’m not far away from ignoring this site all together.

    ARIA the Australian equivalent of RIAA is on record of saying they are not interested in prosecuting Apple, users who are ripping cds, users copying their vinyl collection etc.

    MDN you want to know what Australians are concerned about? I’ll list them for you so you’ll never parade your ignorance again. They are:

    * International terrorism…there’s been three bombings in Indonesia
    since 2002 killing scores of our people. Without looking at an atlas or
    the like do you know where Indonesia actually is? It’s right on our
    doorstep. The country has an emerging democracy and Islamic
    extremism. It is the most populous Islamic country in the world. Most
    Indonesians are moderate.

    * The war in Iraq. Why are we there? Are we becoming a target because
    of our involvement? Will the war ever end?

    * Will bird flu turn into a word wide pandemic? Are we prepared? Will I
    or my children be OK?

    * Are the proposed laws to change industrial relations in this country
    going to turn us into a people who work to the point where we
    lose our national identity and never have time for holidays, our
    children, our friends or our relatives?

    * Can we pay off our home mortgage?

    * Can we afford the cost of sending our kids to school?

    That’s just some of the issues that Australians are concerned about. We call them bread and butter issues. They might be boring but then again many people would be bored about an organisation going on about copyright.

    If people were being prosecuted over these type of legal transgressions there would be an uproar, but no-one is getting prosecuted and no-one will be prosecuted. This being the case this is a non-issue. But MDN has a slow news day and as my ex editor from the Whitsunday Times used to say: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” He also said, “Any story is better than no story…it keeps our advertisers happy and that pays the wages.” Right MDN???

    For future reference Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays are slow news days. This was a Sunday piece…one of four.

  6. Spark – you don’t lose quality copying like-for-like, so if the source music is already AIFF and it’s burned to CD, then there’s no loss of quality.

    If you rip to a lossy format like MP3, then burn those files to an audio CD, then you have thrown away some data. You don’t have the same data as was on the original CD. What you have is uncompressed audio with the quality of MP3.

    If you do this again, from the burned CD, the third CD will be different again from the second. More data will have been thrown away. Do this repeatedly, and you’ll have an Nth generation copy that would sound like some wasps in a tin can.

  7. Don´t bother reading the MDN comments; they are usually so stupid, ignorant, off-based, anti-Apple consumer/pro-Apple corporation, ill-informend and uneducated responses that they are only worth a simple laugh at the stupidness of them.

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