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RIAA, please stay away from celeb iPod auction

Charity Music Rising is selling iPod loaded with celebrity playlists to benefit musicians hit by Katrina. Hopefully, the RIAA will stay out of this one.

Matt Hickey
With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.
Matt Hickey

Good: You're in an up-and-coming band. Bad: Hurricane Katrina comes along and destroys all your gear. Good: A charity, Music Rising, is set up to try to raise money. They're doing this by auctioning off iPods that music celebs like Gwen Stefani, Faith Hill, and The Britney have loaded with their favorite playlists. Sounds like a win for everyone involved, but it might be too good to be true.

Don't get me wrong, as a former musician and survivor of my own environmental catastrophes (no, not my messy bachelor pad), I understand the need for relief. I fully support what Music Rising is trying to do and I wish them the best of luck. You should definitely check out the current auctions--Mariah Carey's iPod was in the lead at the time of this writing.

But I can't stop thinking of the RIAA. It has long maintained that distributing playlists--on burned CDs, iPods, smoke signals, whatever--is a massive and egregious type of copyright infringement. Will Tonic, the group putting on the auction, have to pay royalties to the very artists who are donating the playlists and iPods?

We hope the RIAA lets this one slide, though that's not normally in its nature. This is a way to help those that it claims to represent, musicians.