i would agree that "engaging in theft to 'stick it to the man'" is a poor rationalization, but the issue here is the nature of the "theft." it's a lot more complicated when what is being "stolen" is intellectual property. with the other sort of piracy--mass producing and marketing replicas of the original--there is a clear analogy with the example you cite: one manufactures and markets virtually identical clothing to the labeled product--but with the piracy being discussed here--making duplicates of recorded music for personal use--there is no clear analogy. given your example, consider how the fashion industry works: a high end designer makes a one-of-a-kind garment, which is sold for thousands of dollars to a celebrity who wears this article to a major public event, where it is to be seen by the masses. of course, "ordinary" folk cannot spend several thousand dollars on a single garment, and in the months to follow the design is copied (though the "copies" are far from identical) by other designers for mass production and sale at a vastly more affordable price. is this "theft"? hardly a perfect analogy, but this is at least somewhat closer to the piracy being discussed here than the blatant theft of an actual product. still, the several thousand dollar designer garment is far out of reach for the average consumer; whereas the twelve dollar compact disc is not. would the pirate have purchased the cd were it not available for free? would the pirate have purchased the cd were it less expensive? the article Anti-Flag cites above suggests that the pirate would purchase the music if it were less expensive, but this is easy to claim and far more difficult to definitively establish. i'll concede that piracy is a sort of "theft"--and obviously, it is illegal (though not always, but we are discussing copyrighted material here)--but i am objecting to two contentions specifically: the gravity of the "offense," and whom--if anyone--is being wronged. as to the first, no one has persuasively established that this sort of piracy is of the same order of offense as the theft of personal property: it has not been shown that any entity is actually being deprived of anything. one can speculate all one likes, but one cannot prove that in the absence of pirated copies the rightful "owner" would be any more wealthy. and as to the second, the contention that the creators of the product are being wronged is far from the reality. to claim that one is speaking in defense of the musicians, the engineers, etc., is both naive and disingenuous--or perhaps either/or: i honestly can not figure out if Norsefire is profoundly misinformed, or if he is knowingly making a sort of fallacious emotional appeal. of course that would be theft, but piracy is hardly the same thing: when you download my music for your own personal use, what am i actually being deprived of? a potential twelve dollars? well, when i have that twelve dollars in my pocket and you steal it from me, i shall object; but when i do not notice that anything is missing, but rather note an increased attendance to my shows, i will not object. i've performed throughout all of north america and europe, but i have never performed in japan, australia, or new zealand--yet my albums seem to sell in those places. how are people in these places familiar with me? some promotional material makes its way into these places--periodicals, freeform radio, etc.--and consumers are far more tech savvy these days and shop and browse globally; but i'm also well aware that much of the sales are a result of exposure through "illegal" downloading.