Think you own the music on your iPod?

A federal court in California has ruled that people who pay for their music collections from iTunes don't actually own the tracks they have paid good money for.

The conclusion was reached during a music industry hearing involving pasty-faced rapper Eminem whose lawyers were arguing that he wasn't being paid enough for his hard work by Universal Music Group.

The meat of the matter is that artists are entitled to half of any revenue earned from licensed use (for example in a TV show or film) and only one fifth if the track in question has actually been purchased.

According to the Wall Street Journal, lawyers have succesfully argued that iTunes downloads are tied up in so many restrictions that can't be considered sales at all.

All of which means that you don't actually own the music on your MP3 player, you just borrow it temporarily every time you listen to it.

Universal is appealing the decision and is at pains to point out that no legal precedent has been set until all legal avenues have been explored or the fat lady sings, whichever comes sooner.