I have downloaded over 2,000 MP3s. To be more specific, they were copyrighted songs, and I didn't pay for them. It is my understanding that this is legal. Because of the existence of an extra tax (in my jurisdiction) on cd's for the purpose of compensating to copyright holders, even if I use the cd for a purpose other than putting a song on it, that allows me to get off scot free do download songs as I please.
Even if the tax did not exist, it would still be legal for me to download copyrighted songs.
It is providing access, or uploading the songs that is illegal.
You can rationalize all you want, what you're doing is still illegal.