The RIAA has a major problem with music pirating, mainly because they perceive that they may be losing money. They have been against music pirating ever since it was discovered, back in the 80's, that home taping is killing music. People could tape a song off the radio and (*gasp*) listen to it when they wanted, instead of when the radio played it.
I believe that the copyright laws say it is okay to copy a recording that you own, for your own personal use, such as making a mix tape. After all, no one loses any money because you want to listen to only certain songs that you own, rather than the entire album at once.
Here's where we get to a few gray areas. Radio is free. If you want to tape a song from the radio, which is free anyway, just to listen to it at another time, shouldn't that be legal? After all, the major selling point of VCRs was that you could tape stuff from tv to watch later. Isn't taping from the radio the same thing?
The next gray area comes from used CD's. I have to assume that it is okay to buy used CD's. Otherwise, Al Bum's and any other store that sells used CD's would be shut down. However, how does the artist, or the RIAA, see any money from it? I guess they figure that *someone* paid for it, who listens to it afterwards isn't their business. It wouldn't make a difference if someone bought it and threw it out. Selling it back is the same thing.
That leads to an interesting point, though. If I buy a used CD, the artist and the RIAA don't make any money...the person who sold the CD to the store recovered a small percentage of what they spent on a CD that they didn't like. The store makes a profit too. I get my music on CD, cheap. So what if I want to save my money, bypass the used CD store, and download the CD for free?
The last issue is replacing CD's that I legitimately paid for. I have a scratch on a CD single that is no longer in print...you can't even order it directly from the artist. I already paid for it, why isn't it legal for me to download the songs on it and burn them onto a CD? Why must I put up with skips? Also, last year, my apartment was broken into and 70 of my CD's were stolen. If I didn't have them backed up on the computer (which fortunately, I did), would it be wrong for me to download them all? After all, I *did* pay for them originally. No, the RIAA would have me spend the $700 or so to replace each disc at the store, because some asshole stole all my shit.
Personally, I think the only reason the RIAA shut down places like Napster and Audiogalaxy was just because they could. It's not possible to make tape recorders illegal, or CD burners, or any software that converts CD's to mp3s. After all, these things have plenty of legitimate uses as well. Any sites where you can download music, however, can't legally justify themselves because we *know* people are using them primarily for illegal purposes.