The companies are simply trying to blame their sales problems on pirates, and therefore they get excessive DRM to prevent pirates.
While I don't like DRM as a method of preventing piracy, it is true that a lot of people will ignore ethics and legalities and get a free copy of the software if it's more convenient to get the free copy than it is to get a legit copy. Yes, a lot of people will pay for a game if it's more convenient to pay rather than steal.
The real hardcore thieves who will never pay for anything are pretty rare. More than likely, most thieves are "common criminals" who are willing to pay if it's inconvenient to steal it.
For the most part, it does come down to convenience. And yes, many types of DRM, especially the older stuff, made it pretty convenient to be a legitimate customer. So I would agree DRM tends to make the problem worse rather than better.
Personally, I don't think that we should give up on copyright protection technology completely - I think that we should avoid the old style DRM that punishes legitimate users so much, and emphasize technologies that give benefits to legitimate customers. This is what Valve and Stardock are doing. Their online store model makes buying legitimate software very convenient for most people.
I would rather download a crack to disable DRM rather than have to wait for it authenticate the game on the internet every time, or screw around with my system files.
Luckily, both Steam and Impulse/SDC avoid these forms of DRM. If I remember correctly, Stardock has a very strict policy of not messing with system files.
Both Steam and Impulse/SDC allow you to play games totally offline, and assuming the authors of the games don't add their own extra DRM, neither one of them requires an Internet connection to play games.
In addition, both XP and Vista have mechanisms in place to prevent other software from messing with system files. In fact, if you leave UAC on, Vista has very
strong protection against other software messing with system files.