1. Copyright law is there to prevent someone from taking credit for another person's work. I have no problem with this and all lawsuits based on copyright infringement are basically null because people are not claiming credit for another's works.
2. Theft constitutes inflicting a measurable loss against another party. (this is where things start to get hairy)
3. Regardless of your opinion of the healthcare law, the government has shown that they can and will force people to engage in commerce, with the purchase mandate.
4. With the ability to track and tally data transfers on the internet now, there are now measurements of how often and the number of times something has been downloaded. Before the internet (well, before the masses had access to it), the RIAA couldn't provide metrics as to losses because there were no metrics, even though we all know exactly what those cassette tapes were used for
5. Contraband laws which cover stolen goods/services
What you now have is the cliche' recipe for disaster for the masses, and here's why:
- The RIAA/MPAA/etc. now have a quantification of their 'losses,' which means they can apply theft laws with metrics based on quantity of downloads.
- The pirated copies are now considered contraband, as they are now classified as stolen goods, and possession of stolen goods is a punishable criminal offense.
- The government has shown they can force you to purchase whatever the hell they want if they choose to do so, and on their terms. When the government is controlled by the lobbyists of the RIAA/MPAA/others, they now control what you must purchase and how it is purchased.
When you purchase a DVD/CD/software/etc, you are purchasing a license, not the actual songs. With that license, you are legally bound to only use the items this license applies to in ways that the license permits you to do. If you buy a CD, you may only use the contents of that disk the way the license says you may, at the whim of the record company, which means you may only play the cd in a cd player. You cannot rip the songs to your MP3 player, or back up the disk to your computer, or share the contents with your friends, whether you loan the disk to them or upload MP3's to the web for them to acquire at their convinence, or even have the DJ play the contents at your birthday party. Same thing with DVD's as well as software. This is where they get you, this is how they win, and they are within their legal rights. This does not mean the system is not broken, because it is.
In reality, most artists don't make anything off of record sales, so truth be told, they probably don't give a flying fuck what you do with the CD/DVD after you buy it. Their money comes from touring. Even with software, Adobe doesn't exactly actively pursue random schmucks over pirated versions of photoshop, namely because nearly all pirated copies are in the hands of people who are using the software to make memes or do other generally dumb and/or harmless stuff. Adobe makes their money off of graphic designers who actually use the software to make a profit. This is a good example of 'doing it right'.
People pirate movies because of 2 things: one, they're tired of taking out a second mortgage to go see something in the theater; two, they're tried of all of the crappy, poor quality, and just generally bad movies and don't want to pay for crap any more.
What it comes down to is LEGALLY, they are in the right and pirates are in the wrong, and as long as there is profit to be made and control to be had, it will stay that way. Until there is a mass boycott of ALL products that the RIAA/MPAA are responsible for, and for a long enough period of time to do enough damage that it nearly bankrupts them all, all at once. All consumption must stop, pirating included, in order to send a big enough 'fuck you' to the fat cats in Hollywood and Capitol Hill.