Look at how many people tape TV programs or movies on TV to watch over and over. What is the law on that I wonder.
Universal and Disney (oh, look, Disney again, what a surprise) sued Sony in 1984 to stop them from selling Betamax machines because it allowed people to make copies of copyrighted movies and television shows for personal use.
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Sony, saying that "it was fair use for consumers to copy programs off the air for time-shifting purposes," and more generally that "private, noncommercial copying should be presumed fair use."
Since there is no appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court, that about wraps it up for the "one-copy only" business model.
But let's examine the legalities a little closer:
Title 17 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 1, Section 107: "Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work,
is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:"
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
A backup copy passes here. Backups are noncommercial, unless copyright law entitles the rights holder to another sale every time a disc is scratched. (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
These don't seem to apply directly to a backup copy, since it is an exact copy of the original. I'd say a personal backup fails these two tests. (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
A backup passes here, since the market has already been compensated for the original, and it is upon this point that the current argument will turn.
If the courts agree that businesses are entitled to a sale each and every time a CD-ROM is used
as opposed to purchased, then backups are not fair use.
Problem is that the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken almost directly on point here, so the entire argument is academic.