Now, imagine the RIAA launching one of its patented, high-profile copyright infringement lawsuits.

The gadget is called the Inno, and is manufactured by Pioneer Electronics for XM Satellite Radio. The whole idea behind the Inno is to record songs from the subscription radio service for later listening, much like VCRs and DVRs record TV programs for later viewing.

But we live in a digital world, and the Inno is hardly the same as rolling a tape on your favorite terrestrial radio station. Slightly larger than an iPod and costing about $400, the Inno can parse each saved song, thus allowing you to pick and choose which songs you want to hear, as well as the order in which the songs are played. What’s more, the Inno can record up to 50 hours of XM programming.

XM’s slogan for the Inno? Hear it. Click it. Save it.

The unofficial slogan for the recording industry’s reaction to the Inno? Massive copyright infringement.

Filed in New York on May 16th, the lawsuit seeks $150,000 in damages from XM for every song copied by the company’s subscribers using the Inno.

To be sure, the Inno isn’t the first device for recording music from satellite radio services. XM competitor Sirius markets a radio, the S50, which pretty much does what the Inno does. But the difference between the S50 and Inno is that Sirius eventually capitulated to recording industry pressure and agreed to pay record labels an undisclosed amount for every S50 sold, according to The Wall Street Journal.

And that seems to be the brouhaha between XM and the record labels, with XM claiming the Inno is perfectly legal as it is, and the RIAA slamming the device as one of the major signs of an impending copyright apocalypse. That is, unless XM stands down and agrees to a licensing agreement similar to what online services such as Napster and iTunes operate under. Then everything will be hunky-dory.

Is the Inno similar to those online services? Unlike Napster, iTunes or Rhapsody, songs cannot be transferred from the Inno to other devices. Once the Inno records a song, it stays there until it’s deleted to make room for more songs. In comparison, songs purchased from online music services can be copied to a limited number of computers as well as burned onto CDs. Clearly, if your goal is to inflict massive copyright infringement, you could pick a better device than the Inno.

“These are legal devices that allow consumers to listen to and record radio just as the law has allowed for decades,” XM said. “The music labels are trying to stifle innovation, limit consumer choice and roll back consumers’ rights to record content for their personal use.”

Meanwhile, RIAA logic doesn’t see much a difference between XM and online music services.

Yahoo! , Rhapsody, iTunes and Napster all have licenses all have licenses,” RIAA’s chief exec, Mitch Bainwol, said. “There’s no reason XM shouldn’t as well.”

While the RIAA put its best litigation face forward in the hours following the announcement of the suit, various consumer and tech groups issued their own statements regarding the latest legal action.

“The lawsuit announced yesterday is a brazen effort by the labels to strong-arm more money from a successful technology industry startup,” said Michael Petricone, VP of the Government Affairs for the Consumer Electronics Association. “XM Radio already is the largest single payer of digital music broadcast royalties. More, the record labels receive royalties on every XM recording device sold as provided by Congress under the Audio Home Recording Act.”