Originally Posted by JoeD
With digital downloads, there's no clear loss. You still have an infinite amount of copies to continue to sell to anyone and everyone. The only loss is the _potential_ sale you lost to the person who pirated it instead of buying it. It's potential as it's not clear if that person would have bought it had it not been illegally available for free. Some would, some wouldn't.
Someone in another thread has just informed me that I haven't lost income from pirates "because I never had the money in the first place". I would liken this to me giving someone a pot of paint and saying "paint my fence and I'll give you $100". Then, when my fence is painted, I turn around and say "no, I'm not going to pay you." What's the problem? The painter hasn't lost any money because he never had it in the first place (according to my friend in the other thread)...
The problem of course is that I've taken advantage of the painter's labour and then reneged on my part of the contract - to pay for the painter's time in doing the painting. This is exactly analogous to piracy. You're taking advantage of the creator's labour, but refusing to pay for the work that you've benefited from.