iPods, Obama and the Queen

by Devanshu Mehta

An excellent article from Fred von Lohmann at EFF:

President Obama reportedly gave an iPod, loaded with 40 show tunes, to England’s Queen Elizabeth II as a gift. Did he violate the law when he did so?

You know your copyright laws are broken when there is no easy answer to this question.

[from iPods, First Sale, President Obama, and the Queen of England | Electronic Frontier Foundation]

The issue stems from how the law deals with bits (MP3s, software and Kindle eBooks) differently from atoms (CDs, paperbacks). If the President had bought a CD for the Queen (of the band Queen, no less) it would have been perfectly legal. But digital music, on the other hand, is much murkier territory— you own a “license” not the music. The article at EFF does much better justice to the topic, so read the details there.

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