iPod question

I just bought an iPod from a co-worker and he has a bajillion songs loaded on it, but he said if I try to add any songs myself then I will have to start from scratch, I can’t add to what is already there. Is that really true? It hardly seems right. Is it because they want each person to pay for each song/album? I don’t really want to start over with his iPod since he has a lot of good music already on there, but I don’t want to not be able to add anything else either.

I don’t know, but it sounds like he might have it set to autosyn to his itunes library, in which case when you plug it in it will sync with your library, which doesn’t have those songs. You could ask him if he would set it up to manual update rather than auto update for you. Otherwise, you shouldn’t have that kind of problem, I add new songs to my ipod all the time.
It is also possible that it has to do with iTunes and is a authorisation thing, but that wouldn’t make you have to start from scratch, it would just take off whatever he purchased through iTunes. I don’t really use iTunes music store so I don’t know a lot about that end of things.

He is correct. Sort of.

When you open ITunes, the songs that are in iTunes will be transferred to your iPod. Since you would have basically no tunes or maybe a few, those would go onto the iPod and all thise on the iPod would be deleted.

I assume that Apple do this for reasons related to DRM and illegal sharing i.e I load up my iPod, bring it over to your house and unload it onto your PC.

There are however several applications available on the web to err…‘back up’ your iPod. I’m a newb here so I’m not sure of the protocol. Do a Google search.

Good luck. And don’t sync thatiPod until you have backed it up.

It’s totally correct, and he wasn’t supposed to sell it to you with songs already on it (unless he has no other copies of those songs). “Supposed” is per the DRM and the copyright folks and all that.

Opinions do differ, and the music industry and its lawyers haven’t exactly been making friends hand over fist lately, so YMMV.

Let me go into this in more depth, because it’s confusing to begin with and has recently (last few days) gotten more confusing. Hopefully when I’m done, we’ll be less confused, but I wouldn’t count on it.

(BTW, I’m going to say “music” here, but I really mean any iTunes content: music, video, games, whatever).

There are two classes of music: Those purchased from the iTunes store (which we’ll call “protected music” from here on out), and those you’ve “ripped” yourself from a CD or other MP3 source, which we’ll called “ripped music.”

Up until iTunes 7 (released this week), the rule was that the iTunes music existed on a single computer, and each time you plugged an iPod into a computer, it would replace what was on that iPod with what was on the computer. So if you plugged a “full” iPod into a computer with an empty iTunes library, it would basically be erased until you plugged it back into the other computer.

That’s still the case for ripped music, but for protected music and iTunes 7, you’re given the option of copying the protected music from the iPod to the “empty” computer. If you do this, the protected music will now me in your computer’s iTunes Library.

For some reason, Apple chose not to do this for ripped music. With ripped music (and protected music on older iTunes versions), the only supported way to move the music from one library to another is to actually copy the music files onto a DVD or CD, and import them into the new computer (or use some tool that does this for you, like the new machine setup program that runs when you first start up a Mac, or the Windows Files and Settings Transfer wizard, which is basically the same thing.)

So if you want to keep his music, you need to get the files onto your computer’s iTunes library. There are legal ways to do this, and illegal ways to do this, and I’m not going to go into either except to suggest you find a legal one. For protected music with iTunes 7, just insert the iPod and let it copy them.

This is half the story, I’ll continue in a second post to break this up a little.

Still with me? Why?

OK. With ripped music, simply moving the files to the new computer’s iTunes library is all you need to do, it will now sync and play as normal. Note that in most, but not all, cases, your friend will have to erase that music from his library to make it legal. Some music doesn’t carry this restriction, and this is one of those legalities that vary from place to place: 1-off copying (as opposed to uploading to millions of people) is legal in some places and not in others, and in some places he can make a CD from the originals for you as long as he bought a blank “music” CD to put it on (there’s a tax included to pay for this sort of thing). Consult a lawyer if you care, or assume that it’s not legal for you to both have a copy.

Protected music is a different story. There’s an additional limitation placed on the music sold from the iTunes music store: it can only be played on a certain number of “authorized” computers. The number is around five, but varies from version to version of iTunes.

Even after you’ve transferred the files via iPod or other mechanism, these songs won’t play until and unless your friend authorizes your computer with his iTunes account. If he does so, the songs will play for you, but you’re effectively borrowing them from your friend (and using one of his five computer authorizations). This is legal, but when you move to a new computer he’d need to authorize you again. Eventually, you’ll get a new computer and not have him around, and you’ll lose access to this music.

That’s a lot of words to say basically that you were right originally: copyright law intends to prevent both of you from having permenant copies of this music unless you’ve both purchased it. The exact details of this vary from place to place, but in general your friend is correct: you’ll need to buy the music again if you want to keep it.

This is very helpful, since I just got my wife a Nano, and of course have to maintain it.

I’ve loaded some ripped music, and some free podcasts from iTunes. Being paranoid, I want to back these up (for convenience, we own all the CDs.) Now, burning a CD is easy, but if there was a crash, is just copying the files into the library space good enough, or is there something more complicated to do? I can imagine some hidden files giving directory structure, which would get all confused if new music showed up.

Apple has some pretty good guidelines on this on their site, but basically you just want to back up everything in the iTunes Music folder. There’s an XML file in there that contains the playlists; the “grouping” of things into album is maintained by the directory structure.

However, just getting the files is good enough. If the worst happens, when you re-import all these files, their info will be looked up online or in their tags, and they’ll be re-sorted back into albums, etc. You’ll lose the playlists, but that’s generally not a big deal.

Your comment about the nano brings up a point I forgot in my diatribes above: some iPods won’t hold the an entire large music library, so you can’t necessarily move all your purchased music from one computer to another in a single pass with a small nano or shuffle (or for that matter with an 80GB 5G, I suppose, if your library’s big enough).

So . . . I have 5,000 songs on my iPod. 4,000 I ripped from CDs I own, 1,000 I bought from iTunes. The 1,000 I only have electronic copies of are in my iT library; the other 4,000 are only on my iP.

I intend to buy, at some point, a bigger hard drive, so I can synch my iT with my iP. When I do that, will I be able to copy the ripped 4,000 from th iP to my hd? or will I have to re-rip everything from scratch?

Very appropriate name for this question, lissener.

The answer to your question depends on how you got the ripped stuff onto your iPod in the first place.

If you put it in iTunes, synced, then deleted the ripped stuff from your iTunes Library, you’re going to need to call Apple about this. There’s an easy way to get at them, but it’s arguably talking about defeating copy protection, and I don’t want to cross that line. Apple support (or a genius at a nearby store) will be happy to tell you: after all, it’s your music. Alternatively, I’ll tell you if a Mod gives me the OK.

If you got the songs on there by some other means, probably mounting the iPod as a hard drive and copying the files to the appropriate place in the iPod’s hierarchy, then you just reverse that process to get them back.

If there’s a third way to get files onto the iPod, I’m failing to think of it at the moment.