It's interesting to read all the opinions. I don't know how old you, how wrote here, are. I assume pretty young. But reading DatapawWolf 's "confession" reminded me of something.
I'm 47 years old. I grew up in a world without computers or cell phones, internet or even video cameras. At the age of 11 I heard of something mysterious called "Pong". I was hooked.
But since the very first "home computers", in contrast to consoles, there also was piracy. I remember my very first C64. A few days after I got that one ("Just to have an advantage in school, Dad. See, I can easily plot graphs of functions with it and calculate so much more complex than any pocket calculator could ever do!"), a datasette full of games fell miraculously into my hands. None of them were bought. And guess, what? We argued pretty much the same than you today, 30 years later. The excuses are so old as the pirated industry. And anyone bringing in almost philosophical aspects is just doing balony. It's a try to distract from the fact that one uses for free what he needs to pay for! It's morally unrighteous. At least back then I didn't pretend to be on some holy mission. Instead I was very aware that I was doing wrong. But it felt so good.
And that's the point. It feels so good. All the freedom of getting anything you want, when you want it, where you want it, without paying respect of another one's good. By pretending there is no "another one's good", but "everyone's good". Yeah, right. Like you always shared your Halloween candy with your family.
Sister: "Oh that's nice. I like it. Give it to me."
Brother: "No, you can't have it. It's mine."
Be honest and smile while remembering the scene. No, you just want other's goods to be shared. And the feeling of getting anything is nothing new. It's what people made to believe in higher entities. No matter the religion (yes, even buddhism), there always is some kind of overly rewarding situation or place. Christians know it as Garden Eden, ancient Vikings as Valhalla, ancient Egypts as the afterlife, the Koran tells of "Jannah", etc. All share the same concept. A place or feeling of everything positive in abundance.
Piracy is just a try to shortcut to Garden Eden.
Back in the stone-age. Gro has a flintstone axe. What a wonderful axe. Sharp and strong. Cuts through meat, can kill animals. A must-have for the up-to-date stone-ager! Sesh is an untalented follower of his tribe. Never had much luck in axe building. But he wants one!
Sesh: Tonight I will use your axe, Gru. You won't miss it while you're sleeping anyway!
Gru: No, you can't have it. I worked a week on it and is very valuable to me.
Sesh: I don't care. I'll take it when you are asleep. You won't even notice it.
Gru: I don't permit it! But you can have your own axe. For all the meat of a mammoth I will craft an axe for you.
Sesh: Mammoth? I don't have that much meat. That's not fair.
Gru: Then keep hunting until you get it. The axe is worth it.
Sesh: That takes way too long! I want it now!
Gru: Well, then you're out of luck.
That night, Sesh waits for Gru to fall asleep, then takes his axe and plays around with it. He throws it as hard as he can. But unfortunately the axe misses the stone Sesh was aiming at, and instead hits Gru's sister, who was sleeping just behind that stone. She dies. Sesh takes the axe, cleans it and puts it back in its place near Gru, who was sad the whole rest of his life, without ever knowing who had killed his sister.
Now tell me, and be honest: Who's right here, and who's wrong?
Oh, and back to the C64 datasette with lots of pirated games. I got it from a close friend at that time. And it had a great influence on both of us. My friend later published a german magazine all about Apple Macintosh, called "MAClife", soon followed by a lot of other magazines and businesses. He became a serious and cunning businessman, making sure to get all the money he could get.
And me? I never forgot how satisfying it was to get something without having to pay for it. It is so deep in my veins, that I since then always published for free whatever I created.