@SDoradus & Ben Tasker
Please note that I am not arguing whether something is legal or not in this particular case. My concern is whether this should or shouldn't be so.
My argument is that format shifting for personal use should be legal and there is no case for the original artist getting any compensation for it alone.
SDoradus, you say the value I get is a permission to listen.
Yes, OK, when I buy a CD - I get a dataset of x samples of sound in digital form and a permission to convert them into acoustic waves whenever I feel like. When I rip that CD to MP3 - no new samples are being acquired and the end results, when I listen to that MP3, are the acoustic waves of equal or lower fidelity than before. The path from samples to sound is irrelevant. I get no additional value from the artist.
So far I have not heard any rational counterargument to that except "oh, it's prohibited by law". Anything can be prohibited by law if you have enough money and influence to get it through the system. It doesn't count.