As others have said its always been illegal to give the song to someone else. Its just became so much easier with the internet. Before you would buy a record/tape/CD, maybe make a 2 or 3 copies of a buddy or two and that was really it. Now you can put it on your upload list for Limewire or similar services and 100,000 people can have a copy within a day. That has the record labels much more concerned.
They didn't like people sharing music before and have always had a very totalitarian outlook on your ownership of those songs, but its hard to do much without proof and a lot of time would be wasted dragging everyone who made a copy or two through court. With the files being transfered over the internet there is much more proof, and they can try to get you for thousands of copy right infringements.
Personally I believe it should be OK to listen to said songs on ANY device you own once you have purchased the song. record labels or more specifically groups the like the RIAA feel you should have to purchase the song for EVERY device you want to listen to it on.
Part of the problem is the way music is sold. We buy both a license to play music and physical media holding it. So far the idea has been that a single license of music meant that it could only be played once at any given time. It is legal for 100 people to share the same album so long as they take turns playing it. It is also legal for the owner of an album to make copies of it so long as they do not allow someone else to play the music in addition to themselves. The music industry has been fighting for stronger restrictions, especially since digital music has gotten popular since it has become much easier to copy and share music. In the US fair use still makes it legal to make copies for backup or archival purposes so long as they are only for personal use but in much of Europe it is illegal to convert music from one format to another like ripping a CD to MP3 files.
The music industry has been especially aggressive prosecuting piracy, far more so than the movie and software industries.
In the USA, there haven't been any legal changes that I'm aware of. Piracy still happens (it varies depending who's report you read by how much). People still buy CD's, just not nearly as much as they used to.
If you "own" a license to the music, afaik, record lables are still not happy with the idea that you can burn a copy to your computer and listen to it in a new format....but, most people do that and afaik, it's legal.
No idea what you were after here....any service (eg, limewire) that facilitates mass copyright theft will eventually be put out of business. The US DOJ siezed a bunch of domains from US companies or servers a few months ago to stop piracy on those sites, but that was just a drop in the bucket.
in short its illegal to download music if you havent paid for it and the copyright is still attatched.
it was teh same with vinyl, it was considered piracy to record vinyl to a tape cus most people gave the copies to their mates but of course the plod did nothing about it cus what would be the point.
Thanks for your answer. There have been some kind of new laws in NZ and AUS that for some reason I can't find anywhere online! :////