MP3 Downloading - Where is the crime?

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So I had an interesting thought yesterday, and was curious to see what other peoples opinion would be. When the RIAA sues some poor kid (not that I excuse illegal downloading), is the crime based on the fact that they downloaded an MP3 or that they possessed an MP3 that they didn't own a physical CD for?

In other words - could I be prosecuted for downloading an MP3 for a CD I already owned?

Now let's say I download an album - and my house burns down. That's something that can be proved with insurance records. Must I destroy the MP3 if I lose the physical CD? It was my understanding that copyright law (ignoring DVDs and their CSS crap) allowed me to make a copy for 'archival' reasons. Does that mean I need to burn the MP3 to CD and then delete the MP3? In other words - I can legally back up my CD, but must back up in the same format. (Audio CD to Audio CD)

As I said, I'm curious what people know about the law. I know I said I wanted opinion's as well - but what does the law saw about this?

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Raymond is a developer advocate for HERE Technologies. He focuses on JavaScript, serverless and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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