Getting media files for your iPod
Technically there are only three (online) ways to get media for your iPod or MP3 player. ‘Media’ being music, movies, tv shows, videos, audiobooks or any other files in support of an iPod.
— First, you could purchase it (legally) from iTunes, walmart.com, emusic.com or any other popular online music store. Prices generally range from 79 and 99 cents per song and $10 - $15 per full album. iTunes alone has sold over 3 billion songs as of August 2007 - obviously a popular choice among iPod users.
— Second, you could simply download it for free (illegally) using any P2P program such as Limewire, BitTorrent or any other free file sharing program. Then just import the MP3s, AVIs and whatnot into your iTunes application and transfer to your iPod. Without question, an even more popular choice!
— Third, you can pay a one-time or monthly/yearly fee to download it (illegally, still) from any number of websites that offer this service. All downloading is still done through a “free” P2P program and has nothing to do with the website, with the price attached firmly to the service or support. We don’t know how popular this is, but we’d like to stomp it out anyways!
It’s this third option that we want to go into some detail about:
Fee-based iPod Music Websites
We wholeheartedly believe this is the biggest legal Internet scam going. It is completely parallel to those sites that offer “Free Movie Downloads”, “Free PSP Downloads” and similar catchphrases used to entice unwitting victims into signing up for an account. More on those parallels later.
In essence, these service websites are simply a gateway to a free peer-to-peer network, providing little more than a free P2P program and just maybe some online help files or links to them. Some that are a little higher up the echelon will also even provide user ’support’ and a member’s download area with links to software utilities like CD rippers, video converting software etc. that are already available freely or listed as shareware. Want proof that all you get is a free P2P program? Here’s a line we found at the bottom of www.ipoddownloadnation.com:
This website has no Affiliation what so ever with the owner of the software and provides ONLY a link to the software program.”
This means you can bet that they’re only going to give you a link to the Limewire website, or similar free P2P program. Hey, we’ll give it to you, too, but we won’t charge you $40. Here it is - www.limewire.com.
The Legal Issues
Many of these sites have one thing in common: a disclaimer. Usually this can be found by clicking on a “Legal” link on the site. Not always is it easy to find (it’s usually tiny) but it’s important to read it. The disclaimer will explain that “using P2P programs to download and distribute copyrighted music, movies and games without permission is illegal. Purchasing a membership does not give you license to download and distribute copyrighted material.”
Here’s a common example from www.FeedMyIpods.com.
In short, those two sentences absolve them of any liability or responsibility in connection to litigation, lawsuits or legal action taken against them. However, you the user, are not so easily exonerated of the same.
NOTE: Not all have a legal or disclaimer link. Take for example ipodblender.com’s FAQ:
They don’t have such a link. Just one tiny sentence. While, yes, iPod Blender is legal (or the website wouldn’t be there), what you do while using P2P programs is not necessarily legal.
Some Common Examples:
Although we list some websites below (why, we don’t know), they are not hard to find. Do a Google search for “Get ipod music” and you’ll see what we mean.
Why it’s a Scam
Something that these sites all have in common is that they don’t explain any of the ‘downloading’ processes whatsoever. It seems strange that there isn’t any information, however minutely vague, that describes what their service actually does. That’s because they don’t want to tell you until after you’ve signed up - which is why that signup link seems to be everywhere. They sure do their best to herd people towards it with flashing lights and salable keywords.
Besides the fact that the entire service is promoted on the backs of free P2P programs and free networks should be enough reason to avoid them. But wait, there’s more - they come and go, change names and Internet addresses, and completely disappear and reappear. There is no such thing as a lifetime membership when it concerns these websites.
Here’s a few that have recently ‘disappeared’:
We know with certainty that this site was still up and running on Dec. 3, 2006. Where is it now, one year later? They offered a lifetime membership for $34.95.
Another site that was online recently but has all but vanished.
The Parallels they have with each other:
Many of these sites are run by the same larger company. Each sibling website is changed a little; the website appearance, maybe the price of the service, and for sure the site Name and Internet address. How do we know this? Take a look at these two ‘legal disclaimers’:
(These disclaimers are EXACTLY the same, word-for-word. What are the chances that two distinctly different websites would come up with the exact same disclaimer? Zip.).
The Movie/Music Parallels:
The same groups responsible for the “Movie Downloads” scam are connected to the “Get iPod Music” scam - being that the same stealth company runs both. This is often identifiable in the signup pages from each. Here’s a look at two different websites’ signup pages. Look at the similarities:
Another example of how this scam is executed is to look at www.ipodblender.com and www.pspblender.com - two websites obviously run by the same stealth company - even the ‘lifetime’ membership fee is exactly the same for both. Could you imagine getting sucked in to both of them for $37 a pop? People have! PSP Blender is a scam that offers a free BitTorrent client (utorrent) and a list of free public BitTorrent sites. Don’t take our word for it? Do a Google search for “PSP blender scam” and see for yourself. Here’s just one of many articles from disgruntled suckers.
We stand firm by this final piece of solid advice:
Avoid any and all *service websites
- that try to separate you from your money.