Worthy of consideration is the potential of extra-judicial consequences for acts of web “piracy”. This deserves some clarification. Note that there are US & European encryption processes for DVD’s. The European version was cracked by a 15 yr old Norwegian and posted online a year or more back. At 78 k, this isn’t complex software. More recently, a kid who was caught for producing a version of the Blaster worm went to court looking for a plea deal.
Unlike smoking, these acts of youthful experimentation have consequences for others. Those who have gotten away with such acts find greater challenges such as cracking into webservers. Having dealt with trying to get rid an invader on a server I was responsible for I can attest that it was a headache I didn’t need. Fortunately this invader didn’t care about the website hosted there to the point of altering it’s content. Had I hijacked the code of of some hothead, there may have been the devil to pay for that transgression with little or no recourse.
The point here being that regardless of your moral or ethical feelings about utilizing tools, content, etc. developed by others; the price for doing so could be high.
For those who download music, I suggest they dump it on a usb drive, dvd, ipod, etc. Then put Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and Perry Como’s “Hot Diggity Dog” in their shared folder. This will fend off the Music Gestapo and free up their bandwidth from those seeking to download from their shared folder.