Napster, Gnutella, allofmp3.com, LimeWire, BitTorrent--the Internet literate know these are all various ways that pirated media content is moved around the world. They exist for a reason--it lets people get what they want, when they want it, in high quality, and cheap.
It also means that the people who produce the content in the first place don't get any recompense for their effort. Not a Good Thing. View it how you will, but movies and music cost money to make. If there's no money to make them, they aren't going to get made. If we want them, it's in our best interest to pay for them.
Of course, a lot of folks, me included, are sick and tired of paying $16 for a CD with 2 decent songs on it. I quit buying CDs, more or less, a while back. I decided it's better to do without the one song I liked than pay $16 to own a copy. Movies are pretty much same song, different verse. Too much investment for too little return.
Well, at least a few folks in big media are getting the picture:
Disney-ABC: "We understand piracy now as a business model"
They go on to say that they now understand why people are pirating content. They acknowledge that it isn't so much that they won't pay for it, but they want it on their terms--high quality, when they want it, where they want it and cheap. You know, what us proles have been saying for years now.
There are issues to be worked out. There is mention of ABC's experiment (now permanent) with streaming episodes of "Lost" and other programs. CBS has a similar feature that I assume had similar issues. (The big thing is that the affiliates are losing money on ads because people are watching online.)
At least they're waking up to the fact that their world isn't ending, it's evolving, and if they don't evolve, they will end. This should be a Good Thing for all of us.