There are a few problems with this discussion that nobody seems to be noticing. We simply cannot solve the issue when we are basing our arguments on false assumptions.
1) Downloading, even distributing music for free is not THEFT. A person does not lose an item that is copied, the way they lose a tangible item that is taken from them. The "stealing" argument assumes a 1:1 correlation between copy=sale- It ASSIGNS A REAL VALUE TO A HYPOTHETICAL TRANSACTION that did not, in fact happen. We can argue the morals, ethics, and economics of file sharing, but "theft" and "stealing" are the wrong words.
2) There are no realistic means to curtail illegal downloading. The only truly effective means are overreaching to a draconian level- and still, hackers will find a way to circumvent them. We already have examples of this in the Sony Rootkit scandal and proposed three strikes law.
3) The world is changing. Technology is making creation, reproduction, and distribution easier, whether legal or not. People are changing how they do business, where and how they shop, and what they do with their purchases. This genie cannot be put back in to the bottle. You can ride the train or get off anytime you like, but you CANNOT make it stop and turn around.
Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Each new development leads to new opportunities, and fighting change leads to nothing but extinction.
Yes, artists deserve to get paid- But is the method we expect to use to this end consistent with reality in this century?