An interesting way to look at piracy that hasn't been touched on in this thread is the stance Gabe Newell (co-founder of Valve) takes towards it. That is, piracy is not a monetary issue, but a convenience issue. It's not universally true, of course, but a lot of people do not pirate music/movies/games/television shows because they can't afford them. Rather, they pirate them for the ease-of-access that pirated media gives.
Take a look at Steam. Where many publishers have controversial DRM mixed into their software that makes their games more difficult to play (can only play from the registered computer, can only play while online, etc), games bought on Steam fly in the face of this: so long as you log into your account, you can download and play any game in your library from any computer. You can also set up your account to play your games offline if they're already installed. So you buy your game in a digital copy, generally slightly cheaper than in-store retail prices. It's delivered immediately, over the internet, with no hassle, and without arbitrary restrictions placed on the use of the product you just paid for. And Steam is hugely successful, despite digital copies of games being being, generally, easier to pirate.
It's not just games, either. Louis C.K. recently released a new stand-up special over the internet, with no physical copy. You pay 5 dollars and receive two streams and 4 downloadable copies, instantly. All you need to do is pay through PayPal or Amazon--and you don't even need a PayPal account. The digital copy is a straight video file with no protection that anyone could turn around and post on the internet or in torrent files, requiring no cracks of any kind.
He made a million dollars in twelve days. All of that money went directly to him, where he used it to pay his employees, donated to charity, recouped costs, and paid his bills. Not a red cent went to any DVD publishers. Sure, some people probably downloaded it illegally because they're cheap, but I know that's the first time I've ever paid for a comedy special rather than watch it on YouTube or something. It was cheap to buy and ridiculously easy to get a hold of, and I think the sales show that people are willing to pay the money so long as they're not being jerked around. But jerk them around, and they will take the easier route, which is pirating.
Television is the same. I don't have a cable or satellite subscription at my apartment at all, since I have no desire to be (somewhat) bound by the scheduling, nor do I appreciate 3 minutes of adds for every 6 minutes of content. I also have no interest in paying for 5 other specialty channels if I want to watch, say HBO. So, until recently, I made liberal use of MegaVideo for my television fix.
But I also have a Netflix account, and always check to see if it's up there before I turn to streaming elsewhere. If I really enjoy the show, I will buy the DVDs--as I did for Community, despite having watched every available episode at the time. If networks would stop their quibbling and embrace services like Netflix (preferably only one, please and thank you) they would all be getting some of my money. Instead, they make it damn near impossible to watch at my convenience or without price-gouging me, and so I resort to methods that don't play that bullshit.
I realize this is getting pretty anecdotal, but I can't help but point out that as an anime fan, I have downloaded a lot of shows in my day. But I also have a Crunchyroll subscription, and just recently added a Funimation subscription as well. These days I only turn to fansubbers when I can't get it legally in a way that supports content creators in some way.
I don't have evidence to back it up, but I feel like the general consensus, even among (most) pirates, is this: If you offer a quality product for a reasonable price, don't jerk your customers around, and the creators are actually going to see our money rather than shady middlemen, people will buy things. Instead we get DRM, ads in things we're already paying for (DVDs, for example), a huge pain in the ass when we want to access content we've purchased, and the creators see next to nothing.
I sympathize with, though don't agree with, the idea that piracy is stealing. However, I think that the only thing that is allowing piracy to be a problem at all are the very people decrying it. Bring business models into this century, and I think a lot of the problem might work itself out.