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Feb 28

Can Apple Stop You From Selling Your iPod?

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After Apple released the special edition “U2 iPod,” someone bought one, added some songs from Negativeland, and tried to sell it on eBay as the “Special-Edition Negativeland vs. U2 iPod.” This got some attention at the time, but the auction disappeared, after Apple asked eBay to take it down — saying it violated their intellectual property rights. Wired News now says the same guy, Francis Hwang, is selling the iPod on his own website, while wondering what possible claim Apple could have over him selling stuff that he had purchased. This is an issue that’s only going to get more attention over the next few years as the rights of buyers gets increasingly confused thanks to things like EULAs and copy protection. Apple shouldn’t have any claim over it whatsoever, but in an age where everyone seems especially jumpy about intellectual property rights — just by claiming it was a violation, Hwang couldn’t sell a perfectly legal offering on eBay.


This is a sad trend. In the past Apple stopped trying to go after their base, just because of the PR effects. Now, are they reverting back to cease and desist tactics? and law suits?

Is it worth wrecking your community?

I would understand if someone was actually doing a Bad Thing, but geez.

3 Responses to “Can Apple Stop You From Selling Your iPod?”

  1. Sam Pullara Says:

    My guess is that they don’t want to be taken to task for people selling iPods filled with songs that they don’t have the legal right to sell to someone. In this case for instance, there probably isn’t any way to legally sell the Negativeland files to another person since either they were ripped or they are only licensed from a service to the person they were originally sold to. As to why they are bothering, it might actually be in their contract with the music industry to attempt to stop these transactions from taking place.

  2. Emmanuel Pirsch Says:

    The thing is that Apple has no business in preventing the dude to sell the thing. Apple should not enforce copyrights for others. They are not the police.

    Only the Negativeland copyright holder should have been able to tell eBay to remove the listing.

    However, the dude also did not follow eBay listing rules ( which prohibit to sell Recorable Media ( with copyrighted stuff unless you are the copyright holder.

  3. Sam Pullara Says:

    I was thinking about this some more and they don’t mention copyright explicitly so it might just be trademarks. Selling something as

    “Special-Edition Negativeland vs. U2 iPod”

    Might imply that it was from Apple since it includes something they have trademarked in its name.

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