Originally Posted by MrDeodorant
The difference being that sex is legal, but digitally transmitting copyrighted information isn't. The fact that it depends on how the prostitution operation is run shows that the middleman argument is flawed.
When I download a torrent (and I do), I'm not doing it to express my freedom of speech. I do it because I want the files that it makes available. Dress it up however you want. I preview albums, and then give a list of albums that I want for Christmas. After Christmas, I spend my gift certificates buying albums and games. The system works. But it's still piracy.
I admit that I download games. Sometimes it leads to purchases (Fallout 3), and sometimes it doesn't (Dead Space). My downloading of games is directly correlated to the demise of the demo system. Left 4 Dead 2 had a demo. I own Left 4 Dead 2 because I was able to play the demo and realise that the new additions were fun. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.
I support torrents, but I don't try and pretend that they aren't illegal.
I am not insulting you, but that is such a SIMPLE way to look at things. Torrents themselves are not illegal any more than http traffic is illegal, even though it can be used to send child pornography across the web. If someone decides to upload copyrighted content using the bit torrent protocol then they may be breaking copyright law.
But the protocol itself doesn't make the file in question illegal. People have been pirating since the printing press was invented, they've just had better ways to go about it as time went on. You can direct download, FTP transfer, etc. etc., any copyrighted file without permission. THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT ILLEGAL! Not the protocol you used during the transfer.
So this is why I get a little upset when people say, "No spluh torrents are illegal". NO THEY AREN'T!!! Its the act of uploading and downloading copyrighted content that is illegal, no matter which protocol is used, or hell, even if you xerox and mail it!
Additionally every other medium, including search engines, are protected by the "safe harbor" provision, as are ISP's, and really torrent trackers should be too. But big content has a lot of pull in Washington so they are trying to get the gov. to do the investigation and prosecution of suspected pirates so they don't look like the bad guy or incur any of the costs.