Having only read through a few of the posts, I'm going to offer my thoughts before reading the rest.
Piracy has existed as long as digital media has. The first thing we need to establish is the difference between fair use practices (Now banned by the damned DMCA) and real piracy. I cant believe I'm old enough to actually describe this =[.
Fair use would fall under doing what is necessary to protect your investment as a legal consumer. This can mean making copies of your game in case your original is scratched or even can cover having a no-cd crack for whatever reason. I *very* firmly believe that it is the consumers right to do with their media as they please. So what if they use a no-cd crack or made a personal copy of the game? They bought it, they have a limited lists of rights that can be seen as fair use (Except these were all stripped under the DMCA, more on my thoughts about this later.)
Now, it is a form of piracy to give said copy of a game to a friend while keeping the original to use yourself. I see this kind of transaction as a harmful shade of grey, but not one to be concerned about. A responsible end user would encourage their friend to buy the software at a later date. On a related note, I feel all software should have some form of trial or free test version. It's a very viable option and that really allows users to make a strongly informed decision.
Piracy, true and blue, is the act of taking someone elses work and redistributing it for a profit. This is the kind of piracy that the DMCA, gov't agencies and the private sector all have worked VERY fervently to stamp out. It's harmful in many obvious and some less obvious ways. This kind of piracy should absolutely not be supported. It is a criminal act and very morally questionable. Just below it is the lighter area of providing a free copy. Still criminal, still a douche move, but the motivation changes how it should be handled in my eyes.
Giving a free copy of a game out is, at first glance, detrimental to a game developer. Oddly enough, actual market research, number crunching and examination of economic mechanics have shown that a certain amount of piracy kept in check may in fact be beneficial to a company. There are a few theories as to the exact mechanics, but it's probably the simple fact that any spread of your game will likely result in some form of revenue. Pirates generate interest that might not have existed before, in turn generating profit that typically comes close to balancing out loss. The net loss is less than expected.
Why pirate? A lot of data shows that pirating is very reactive in nature. For example, Spores DRM scheme launched it VERY quickly into the realm of most pirated game of all time. People, fearing the DRM, downloaded it instead. Mass pirating is self inflicted in many cases.
Free download with pay to play works incredibly well, but it comes with the icky downside of a monthly fee. Nobody wants to pay multiple monthly fees just to occasionally play a game they like. The natural solution is requiring an internet connection for validation of the game to play, but this is currently pretty controversial. I personally like the idea, i just wish the holes could be worked out of it.
Bottom line, the media industries are focusing on a problem that is only mildly consequential. They are wasting money and pissing off consumers with schemes to prevent pirating; schemes which have been shown time and a again to be costly and ineffective. They need to start working smarter, not harder. Just make pirating a pointless endeavor.
As far as the DMCA goes, it's useless. It was implemented poorly, harms the everyday enduser and is being abused by organizations such as the RIAA to harass and even ruin peoples lives. In some cases, it was twisted around in order to award a settlement of something in the realm of $44,000USD for a single song downloaded illegally. We need to abandon an attack the customer mentality and focus on a friendly method of protecting our investment that allows users the same freedom.
Wow, it's 1:30 AM O.O Time to sleep!