Apple's iPod digital music player may be the hottest electronic toy in the world, but it has almost no legal use in Australia, writes Julian Lee.
The next time The Clash's I Fought the Law is blaring away on your Apple iPod music player, savour the irony that not only are you likely to be an outlaw - you are getting away with it with the help of one of the world's biggest brands.
You are not alone. There are 100,000 of you across the country and the police aren't coming after you. Yet.
Apple's iPod is the Sony Walkman of the new century. In the 1980s, Sony's cassette player revolutionised music by making it portable. Today Apple and others have eliminated the tape and have taken the Walkman digital. An iPod owner can copy hundreds - even thousands - of songs from CDs onto a box the size of a cigarette packet.
More than 100,000 Australians listen to music on such digital music players. Retailers cannot stock them fast enough. There is just one problem.
Most people know it is illegal to download songs from the internet without paying. But far fewer people know it is illegal to copy music from a CD you have legally bought.
Anyone who has copied songs from a CD onto an iPod or computer hard drive has fallen foul of Australian copyright laws, which critics argue are failing to keep pace with technological change. Copying music for personal use is generally OK in the US and Europe. But not in Australia.