We all know that contributing upstream bandwidth that you're already paying for anyways is NOT the same as paying $10 for a DVD, otherwise we would be doing that.
Many times I see people keep on seeding, even if the file is in multiple small RAR files (yes, some morons still distribute gigabyte files formatted for floppies). Those RAR files are utterly useless once their content has been extracted, and take up valuable hard disk space, yet people still leave them there and the torrent program - which also consumes resources - running.
Also, given the choice, I'd rather pay $20 to a pirate than $10 to a media company, since the latter will use the money against me. It is unwise to fund your enemies.
And that an encoding and seeding job can be done by one person or a small team but lead to thousands of people getting it, so yes it is a "tiny subset" that contributes meaningful work (time and effort to encode and edit), while most 'contribute' something that requires no effort on their part.
Apparently there's enough people contributing their efforts that everything that gets released in a digital format - and many things that got released in analog ones - appear on P2P within days of their release, if not earlier, usually multiple times. The reason there's no more people ripping movies and disinfecting software is that even the current labour force is ridiculously oversized relative to the task.
Nearly everyone in P2P community contributes everything they can be reasonably expected to, and many people far in excess of that. It is your argument that is absurd, saying that people dublicating effort only 2-5 times rather than 1000 times over makes them freeloaders.
And while I think copyright laws are too strict and prosecuting for reverse-engineering is horrible, I have to rage a bit at the "evil corporations pay only a small % of sales to artists, so it's okay to copy" argument. What percentage of money from P2P downloads go to the artist? What is 1% of zero?
I haven't made any such argument. I'm against copyright simply because it is sick that our entire society and communication technology is getting twisted out of shape just to financially benefit people who make pop songs. And, as the secret ACTA negotiation process once again demonstrates, it seems impossible to have copyright that stays reasonable, I say we're better off without it.