Devices that play music held on iPods over FM radios are set to become legal in the UK, as a law that bans such devices is about to be overturned. Communications regulator Ofcom has announced that it wishes to lift Britain's ban on the use of such devices.
By "such devices", we are referring to gadgets such as Griffin Technology's iTrip, which allows users to listen to digital music in cars or around the home. They are very popular in the US and Europe, but are illegal in the UK. They work by allowing car radios or household stereos to tune in to iPod signals and play music, and were outlawed because it was feared that they would interfere with commercial radio, despite the fact that their range is only a few metres. Even once the ban was in place, thousands of people continued to use their iTrip or Belkin's TuneCast wireless transmitter to listen to their music whilst out and about. Now they can do so legally.
Simon Muys, a telecoms lawyer at London firm Olswang, said legalising the gadgets was a logical solution to a problem that has been irritating Ofcom since their introduction into the UK around two years ago.
Mr Muys said Ofcom has recognised that with so many of these products in the market the most practical solution is to introduce an exemption.
The devices are expected to become legal by the end of this year.