Just like speed limits, alcohol prohibition, and the current drug war, most people alter their preferred behavior to comply with the law only to the minimum level required, or to a degree that "aligns with the herd". If the RIAA and other copyright enforcement bodies could consistently enforce penalties like the one leveled against Jammie Thomas, it might alter the broad public's behavior, but that's essentially untenable. Like it or not, I think that's the pragmatic reality, however, widespread enforcement is NOT tenable because the broader public outcry would almost certainly result in Congressional scrutiny. I'm pretty sure the copyright cartels wouldn't like that. I think that most Americans would say that copyrights are too long if relevant examples were given to them (how many people realize that restaurants who sing "Happy Birthday" are breaking the law?).
Thanshin argues the "layman" argument pretty well: saying that the way to respond to unjust or corrupt laws is to patiently work your way through our representational legal system means implies that you should put aside your ethics in the face of Justice! While it's important to make sure that you're aware of and embrace the potential consequences, I wish I could fully endorse Thorough's argument to Civil Disobedience
but the engine of our democracy is the blood of the just... And as much as I value our culture and entertainment, I value my personal freedom more. The end result is a gestalt of civil disobedience, ass-covering, and lobbying for change. What I endorse is the following:
massive and willful civil disobedience, active (if anonymous) involvement in any surveys/polling of the degree of compliance, and *finally*, communicating with your legislative representation.