Online piracy, the act of stealing intellectual property (movies, music, software, literature, and art) is a touchy subject. You have those who create the content being stolen, and those who "believe" someone's hard labor is free, because you can't copyright ideas and expressions commonly used by all of us as a species; and then you have people who just rather steal than pay for something.
The theft of music, movies, literature, and software are exasperated by how easy it is to steal over the internet; and by the entertainment, software, and publishing industries themselves, who refuse to change with consumer demands and rework their pricing models. The situation is growing to unsustainable levels, and has spread around the globe, creating a universal license to steal.
Music, movies, art, literature, and software help drive the human spirit, fuel our souls, and allow us to attain conscious heights not replicated anywhere else on the entire planet. We innately feel a connection to great music, can lose ourselves in wonderfully crafted stories, and immerse our psyche in an alternate reality via video games or when viewing amazing art.
Unfortunately, when we steal intellectual property, we fail to give respect to the enormous amount of dedication, perfection, and resources it takes to create those wonderful human experiences. By stealing, we are essentially committing mind-expansion suicide, as the money needed to support theses uniquely human experiences, which elevate our collective consciousness, dries up; which can only lead to less and less of those wonderful human experiences for all of us to partake in.
Leaving only a few well-financed participants in control of human creativity and the channels to get it out to the public, and this is where the entertainment industry needs to take some culpability when it comes to piracy.
The entire pay structure for entertainment was greatly revolutionized by Steve Jobs, but it still leaves a lot to be desired, especially on the cable TV, software, and movie ends. Alternative payment systems are out there, and emerging each day; but one step we the consumers must take is to show that we will use these alternative methods when they become available.
Many musicians offer websites where you can buy their music directly, both Amazon and iTunes offer music, TV shows, streamed movies, and eBooks for mostly reasonable prices. Adobe offers monthly billing to use Photoshop and their other popular software titles, there also are plenty of monthly pay-services like Netflix for movies and original programming, and GameFly to rent video games. All of these services can meet the demands of just about any budget. The fact that entertainment is still being pirated at such a large rate, is a troubling sign, with unknown long-term cultural consequences, not worth the 99 cents we save when we steal a song online.