Re: Intellectual Property
There is no easy answer to the question.
On one hand, one has to take the perspective of the author/creator - he/she spends time to create something that is, basically, data for a living. Having that distributed without their permission (which may or may not come at a fee) is not right.
However... the reality is that 'control' of the intellectual property many refer to does not belong to individuals, but media publishing companies who own the rights (above the individual creators) to that data and its distribution. They usually pay a 'cover' fee for albums, chapters, novels, etc - some unit of IP that they pay the creator. A royalty may or may not be awarded (a share of the total sales).
Here is where things get a bit complicated. Publishing companies tend to get very aggressive about illegal distribution of their works (and are constantly pushing for more laws regarding IP). This is not entirely without justification - but it makes the often flawed assumption that "piracy" is actually causing the company to lose a purchase that would have otherwise been made.
On that note - if you go to foreign nations, you'll see largely Chinese manufactured products that fly in the face of international copyrights and licensing agreements. For example:
This is the type of thing that software distributors and other IP holders are trying to prevent through their copy-protection methods and other such things. ... Sort of.
They will often extend this to "internet piracy" - which is largely comprised of highschool and college-aged kids with no money and parents living near the limits of their budget limits. In cases like Naruto - the series still builds a fan base among those who cannot afford the manga or anime box set (or the cable fee...) - they still may purchase merchandise from the series or otherwise choose to spend money as a fan does (that would otherwise not have been spent if they were prevented from viewing the series).
In other cases, such as games, the error is often made in assuming that a game would be purchased had it not been downloaded. When I was younger - I didn't have money to spend on games and a few times that I did - I got smacked in the nose with a game that was, essentially, a $50 beta access (the game was buggy as hell with under-developed or poorly implemented features). Since then, I've downloaded a lot of 'illegal' games simply to be a more honest demo of the game to make sure it isn't a slide show on my computer as well as to make sure the game isn't horrible in terms of quality.
After I had considerably more funds at my disposal and didn't have to worry nearly as much about my income versus expenses - I found that I bought games in a much more whimsical fashion without even thinking about finding a pirated version.
The only time I think about finding a pirated version of a game is when it's a steam-locked game (I'd really like to get Skyrim, but it's steam-locked and I will not spend money on it, even on the 360 version - that's how hateful I am toward steam - any developer who steam-locks their game gets no support from me).
And I haven't dabbled in that for quite some time. I purchase my albums through Zune (now Xbox Music) since I can't stand a lot of the other client software or corporate policies, I still stick to the Game Stop App (a hold-over from when it was Impulse) or Origin client (it's yet to completely piss me off) - and will go without music and games if itunes and steam become the only distributors out there.
Well, as far as they are concerned, I will.
So... honestly, I think that the error we make in terms of IP these days is that we've allowed corporate holdings of it to be too strong. There exist some cases (that I would have to look up again) where an author/artist has had suit filed against them for distributing works on a small scale that they sold to a much larger company. While that can be justified under certain circumstances... it still paints a rather intimidating picture for the future of IP.