A device that enables songs to be transmitted from Apple's iPod to FM radio has been banned in the UK.

The iTrip, developed by US company Griffin Technology, falls foul of the rules set out in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 which require any person operating radio equipment to obtain a licence from the Secretary of State.

The small cylindrical gadget, which costs $35 (about £19), clips to the top of the iPod to allow users to tune to any FM frequency and could therefore potentially disrupt radio station broadcasts.

"In the UK, FM broadcasts are allocated for the exclusive use of licensed broadcasters. No other systems are permitted to operate within these bands," said A N Micro, the iTrip's UK distributor, in a statement.

"The UK authorities have allocated all existing analogue FM bands. Therefore, use of the iTrip in any FM broadcasting bands is strictly prohibited."

The company has hired a legal team to investigate how the device can be sold legally.

Over in the US where there are no restrictions on use, the iTrip has been selling like hotcakes and Griffin believes that targeting UK distributors is not the answer.

"This just hurts distributors," Griffin's spokesman Andrew Green told MacCentral. "There are many, many outlets for people in the UK to receive them. And the iTrip, a best of breed product, is very popular so we think people will employ any number of means to get them."

Reports suggest that Austria and Iceland have also banned the device for contravening radio frequency laws.

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