President Bush caught in a little iPod scandal

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President Bush caught in a little iPod scandal

Chicago (IL) – In a recent Fox News interview, Bush shared his affection for iPods, showed the music player and revealed a portion of his playlist. As it appears, Bush ripped Beatles music from CDs and copied it to the music player. As we all should know, this is a big no-no, at least according to the RIAA. Is Bush breaking the law?

The President confessed his love for the iPod to Brit Hume, who talked to Bush on air at the end of  that when the interview was almost over and the microphone actually already had been turned down. Hume got a glimpse of an iPod sitting on a desk behind Bush, which prompted the journalist to ask the President about iPods and music.

Bush told the reporter that besides the hard-drive based model he also has the “little one” shuffle model, explaining that you “shuffle to shuffle”. He said he often slips the Shuffle model in his pocket, puts the headphones on and jogs, concluding that “it’s a pretty high-tech stuff”. Then Bush grabbed his iPod and ran through some of the artists on his playlist, reading them aloud. Thanks to Fox, we now know that our President likes The Beach Boys, Alan Jackson, Alison Crowe, The Angels, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles … Wait a minute: The Beatles?

As far as we know, the legendary British pop band isn’t yet available on iTunes or any other download service. The only way that Bush could have acquired these songs (other than any secret service channels) would be to rip Beatles CDs on his own. If the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is right the Bush has broken the law in a worst-case scenario, but is moving in a legal grey zone in any way you look at it.

Last year, RIAA decided that it may be illegal to rip CDs and put them on your iPod. Yes, if you haven’t read that news last year, ripping a legal CD could be illegal.

The music industry took its rigid stand on ripping during dramatic trial in Minnesota last October, when judge ordered Jammie Thomas to pay $220,000 to the record labels for sharing 24 songs online ($9250 per song). It was during that trial that Sony BMG’s chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified: “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.” She went even further by saying that copying a song you bought is “a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’.”

As a sharp contrast to this theory consumers have completely different expectations. The Los Angeles Times poll revealed that 69% of teenagers thought it was legal to copy a CD they own and give it to a friend. Consumer advocates point to several court rulings over the last few decades that found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices that were used to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording.

Having said that, is it then OK to copy legally bought CD onto a computer or an iPod? The RIAA states on its website that “making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it won’t usually raise concerns, as long as you don’t give away the music or lend it to anyone.”

You can watch Bush discussing the iPod with Fox News reporter in the YouTube video.