Ah, the classic slashdot myth, repeated so many times that most people here actually believe it. However, the United States criminal code would beg to differ. Ever download $1,000 worth of material in 6 months? Guess what, you committed a crime.
You completely missed the boat here. He wasn't implying it's not a crime, he was saying it's a CIVIL offense, not a felony offense. The difference being the former is punishable only by fines whereas the latter is punishable by fines as well as incarceration or, in extreme cases, death.
Thank you for your clarification, though. It reinforces that it is, in fact, civil as the only punishments are fines.