So, it seems that some version of PIPA/SOPA will become law in the United States. To no particular effect on those who can see the technical loopholes a mile away, but it's a nice illustration of the importance of having lobbyists promoting your interests in the capital. Similarly, we'll get some sort of bastardized version of same when the Conservatives revise the copyright law. Again, to no particular effect, but it's a nice illustration of the weaknesses of Westminster "majority" Parliaments. (Two different systems, two different problems. Ah, politics.)
I'm firmly in the camp of those who think there's no problem here to be solved. Media piracy exists because there's a significant underserved segment of the market. If media companies bothered to provide products and services that would suit the interests of that segment, then piracy would become a minor irritant at best.
It's often argued, though, that there's a fundamental ethical problem with piracy. Exactly what the problem is seems hard to articulate.
Sometimes, it's claimed that piracy is the same as theft, and as theft is wrong, so piracy is wrong. Two problems here. First, the analogy is obviously bad. Pirated material is copied, not taken, which makes it not equivalent to theft. Second, it's not true that theft is always wrong. Exceptions are numerous (e.g., for self-protection), so there is no general principle about the wrongness of theft that can be deployed here.
This position is sometimes revised to the claim that the real theft is the loss of income or sales due to piracy. Again, this is a terrible analogy: losing sales is in no sense like theft. If it were, then every time someone shopped around for a bargain, stores who didn't get that person's business would have been robbed.
The more interesting version of this point is that content creators are entitled to income from their endeavours. This is probably true, but true in general -- that is, everyone, including content creators, is entitled to income from their endeavours. The problems come in pointing out exactly what the creators are entitled to in return for their work. If the claim is "enough to live on", then I am sympathetic, but note that this should apply to everyone -- content creators are not special here. If the claim is "as much as possible", then the earlier point about market failure seems to come into play. In a competitive market, it's the producer's job to satisfy consumer demand, not insist that consumers consume whatever the producer feels like making.
So, there's something to the "piracy is theft" line, but only when it's elaborated to something like: "everyone is entitled to enough income to live on, which creative people try to earn through creative works, and piracy negatively impacts on that ability". And even then, it only shows that creative people need to either insist on a guaranteed minimum income, presumably from the state, or acknowledge that the market for creative work is changing, and adapt to it. There is no moral claim here against the pirates.
A different sort of claim that could be made is that copying a creative work is itself morally wrong. This is just not true. There's nothing morally wrong with reproducing a painting, song, or what have you for one's own benefit. Every time I find a comic on the web that I enjoy, and save a copy to my hard drive for future reference, I have made a copy for my own benefit. How on earth is that immoral?
The only possible justification I can see is a tragedy of the commons type argument: that when everyone is making copies for their own benefit, it leads to damaging consequences. Even granting the consequentialist frame, this doesn't put any responsibility on the shoulders of the pirates. After all, the point of the tragedy of the commons is that no one person bears responsibility for the bad outcome. It's the group as a whole -- which, in this case, would include the content creators as well as the pirates.