I don't follow your point here. Yes, you are right, that if I offer to sell you a balloon, and someone else gives you one (that that person owns) for free, then you don't have to pay me for it. On the other hand, if someone else gives you one of *my* balloons for free, and he does not himself own it, he's going to jail. For your part, if you knew the balloon was stolen when you accepted it, that's also a crime. If you did not know, then you are safe...except that the balloon will be taken from you and given back to me. The desire for the balloon to have a certain price is irrelevant in that case, since as the balloon was stolen goods you have no entitlement to it at all unless you meet my price. As long as we are agreed that criminal infringers are indeed criminals and unethical, I have no issue with whether you call them "thieves" or "infringers". That's just semantics. That said, the name of the NET Act shows that Congress was likening infringement to "theft" , and there are plenty of definitions of theft that would allow for the taking of IP without permission to be included within it. Again, though, its the case of a crime by any other name, still being a crime.