I think where the “theft” arguments fall apart is in the reality that real theft involves the denial of use of the item stolen, and the loss of the resources used to purchase/create it. If I steal your car, you can no longer drive it, sell it, enjoy it, and you’re out the money you paid. If I steal your money, you can no longer spend it, invest it, burn it. If I steal your favorite book you can no longer read it, share it with a friend, or prop up your dinner table with it. If I steal your ideas and beat you to market you can no longer profit from those ideas, or control how they are exploited. But if I “steal” a song or a movie, well, nothing happens; you can still sell it, play it, give it away, change it, etc. There is no real damage from a song or movie being “pirated” other than the person “pirating” may not buy what they have “stolen,” but there is also no certain way to know if that person would have purchased the item if it couldn’t have been “stolen.”
This is why the fines they’ve come up with for “stealing” music and movies are so out the world crazy. They don’t fit with the damage done in any sane manner. And they don’t take into account that there are myriad LEGAL means to get the same materials for free, though perhaps in differing formats and levels of quality. The whole thing just plain stinks, and I’m disgusted with our elected “representatives” for allowing fair use rights to die and for not protecting the people from these greedy corporations.