Gadgets such as the iTrip, which plug into MP3 players and connect them wirelessly to radios, are set to become legal in the UK. They are already popular in some parts of the world, but using them is illegal in the UK and Europe.
Ofcom, the communications regulator, put forward plans yesterdayto legalise the use of "low power FM transmitters". It will consult on the issue until September, after which the devices are expected to become legal. Owners would not require a licence. Their use is currently banned because of the potential to cause interference to broadcast services.
Jason Jenkins, deputy editor of the gadget magazine T3, welcomed the proposal. "They are nifty little things and an easy way to listen to your iPod tunes in your car," he said.
Don Foster, Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman, said the proposal would regulate a "booming" black market. Simon Muys, telecoms lawyer at London firm Olswang, said: "Ofcom has recognised that with so many of these products in the market, the most practical solution is to introduce an exemption."
In a parallel development the Royal National Institute for Deaf people warned that young people could be damaging their hearing by listening to loud music through headphones.The charity said some users were even downloading unofficial codes to override their MP3 players' volume limits.
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