iPod As Accomplice To Software Pirating

The teenager stopped at a nearby display Macintosh [in CompUSA], pulled the iPod from his pocket and plugged it into the machine with a FireWire cable. Intrigued [Dallas computer consultant Kevin] Webb peeped over the kid&is;shoulder to see him copying Microsoftis new Office for OS X suite, which retails for $500.
2/28/2002 Wired on-line

There is virtually no technology that hasnit been co-opted for illicit purposes totally unrelated to the technologyis originally designed purpose. Bootleg cassette tapes have been used to pirate music. Ditto for the VCR and movies. Who hasnit heard of someone with a "black box" cable TV setup. Pirating Microsoft software, some misguided souls undoubtedly think, is downright patriotic.

It seems like the iPod has been tapped for similar contributions to such misplaced red-white-and-blue sentiments, according to a report at Wired.com

Appleis iPod music player stars in this story of youthful shoplifting, as Wiredis Leander Kahney recounts a gentlemen witnessing the deft pilfering from a CompUSA display Mac. Kahney epiphanizes that even though Apple crippled the iPod so that it canit share music between computers, the company overlooked the fact that stealing software is as easy as a drag and a drop. Couple this with the fact that OS X software is typically contained in one nice, neat icon "package," the pirateeris job is that much easier.

And so is deterring such shoplifting, if retailers are not vigilant:

Unsure whether the kid was a thief or an out-of-uniform employee, Webb watched as he left the store. "I thought thereis no point in getting any more involved in this imbroglio," Webb said. "Besides, this is Texas. You never know what he might have been carrying."

Thanks to devices like the iPod, we now have a new phrase in our lexicon, coined by Kahney: "virtual shoplifting."

You can read the whole story in Wired, which we recommend as a good read.