Selling an iPod: with or without music

Q: I have just recently purchased a 60GB 5G iPod, and I’d like to sell my old 60GB iPod Photo. Should I sell it with all my music left intact, or should I wipe it clean prior to selling it? There are over 7,000 songs on the iPod, and although I’d like to include them as a bonus to potential buyers, I’m nervous about other personal information that may be left on the iPod since I wouldn’t be wiping it clean.

Also, what is the best place to sell my iPod, and how much should I expect to get?

– Ben

A: This can be a touchy subject, not so much because of the information that may linger on your iPod, but because of the legality of leaving a copy of your music on the iPod in the first place.

Though this may vary depending on the laws of the country you’re in, most people are permitted to “rip” their audio CDs into digital files – technically, copies of the original discs – and carry them on an iPod. This is a “fair use” of copyrighted materials you’ve purchased. In other words, within your household, you’re relatively free to use the contents of media you’ve purchased for your personal use however you’d like.

However, when you take the copies you’ve made and either sell them explicitly or use them to bolster the sale of a used iPod, this is generally no longer regarded as “fair use,” unless you are also selling the original CDs with the iPod and transferring complete ownership of the music. The Recording Industry Association of America has even issued a statement warning users against selling pre-loaded iPods, although precise interpretation of the laws which govern the issue are still in question.

iLounge is not going to provide legal advice on this subject, but for your safety, wiping your iPod clean using Apple’s iPod Software Updater before selling it is the safest option.