There is another level of piracy (which, ironically, is "laughed at by 'hardcore' anti-pirates") which is a matter of "try before you buy". There are tons of people who actually does this (hardcore anti-pirates may wish to slap themselves in the face to actually believe this, but yes, it's true). Me, I don't download games I can get a demo for, or music I can listen to on youtube/spotify or similar services. But there are times when you can't get any sample of the work you're interested in. You may have seen a good review of it, or heard the name being mentioned somewhere. (Like the "similar artists" feature on last.fm.) Then I'm all for piracy, as this ONLY increases the chances of the end-user actually buying the game/album/whatever, as very few people buy something they know nothing first-hand about.
So, to be blunt, it's kinda stupid to just see it as "ooh, every pirated copy of a certain piece IS a lost sale", because simply, it isn't. It's like seeing everything in black and white, and sure - if the world truly was black and white, it'd probably be well and great to look at everything that way. Now that the world is more of a gray-scale (no wait, it's really colorful! ^^) that view of the world is pretty worthless.
Of course, same thing goes when flipping the coin; piracy isn't all good and well, as there are several people that just download and share a lot just because it's free. IF, however, they wouldn't have bought the pieces at all, no matter if they would've downloaded it or not, this doesn't matter, actually; as no property has been lost, and the revenue generated on the piece has not been decreased.
So please, people - open your eyes a bit, and realize that it isn't just a simple matter of right and wrong, or black and white. That goes for both anti-pirates and pirates, you should look over the matter, and actually see what you're doing and what the 'other side' is doing, and why they're doing it. Understanding a matter is far more important than being fanatically pro- or con- it.
And laws are built around the same problem, they are not case-to-case unique, as this would be impossible to manage (imagine a law book without any definitive rules at all...), and since piracy isn't theft (NO, NO and NO, it isn't, because no property is lost whatsoever, and as said, it's not a guaranteed revenue loss. And since the companies doesn't provide the files and server space/internet connections, the files cost nothing directly for the companies.) it's not as simple as a theft case.
Actually, many countries have been a little quick to judge cases like these, and create laws for them, just because of the aforementioned - it isn't black and white, and because the downside to the 'crime' can be absolutely zero (very few other crimes have that, it often negatively influences someone) it should probably be investigated further before laws and rules are made to restrict or control it.
Back to piracy and alternatives anyway; as mentioned in an earlier post one thing that can (and probably will be the most effective method) decrease piracy is to provide content to people at prices that actually fit what a certain piece is worth. Selling games at online stores - EA Store, Stardock Impulse, Steam, iTunes, etc. - at the same rates as the piece costs in a 'physical' store is absolutely ridiculous, as the costs are drastically reduced for the distributor when using an online service provider, compared to a 'physical' store. (That is, if the online service provider does not have ridiculous charging rates, but most doesn't, for the sake of competitiveness.) We're talking about many things being cheaper or even removed from the costs in the comparison; store revenues (more middle-hands reduces the income in the end ofc.), manual/leaflet printing, disc creation (both previous posts include materials for this, which needs are also removed when using an online distr. system), shipping and handling everywhere, etc. etc. etc. The costs are generally MUCH lower when using an online distribution system, yet many of them retain the prices used in physical shops. There are, of course, marketing and market controlling reasons for this. (Distributors want to sell the physical copies, of course.) But as long as the alternatives aren't more reasonably priced, considering costs and expenses, the companies cannot effectively combat piracy, no matter the laws, threats, maffia methods etc. they tend to come up with.
And as some last words; the Internet can't be controlled, and to large extent shouldn't be, as people, countries and cultures are so vastly different from eachother, and what's allowed and popular in one place may be frowned upon, or even illegal, in others. If the Internet was to be controlled you'd affect too many people for the Internet to be a viable source for basically anything anymore, as nearly all things on it offends someone.