That a lot of people use the same sophistry in their reasoning doesn't make that reasoning any the more valid. Last time I looked a lot of people took hard drugs - life being hard in the Inner Cities isn't valid justification for that. Neither is poverty an excuse for the theft of luxuries (if a mans family is starving I consider anything short of actual murder to be justifiable from his point of view - but that's a different argument).
As to supporting or not supporting certain Publishers - evaluate it on a game by game basis. Publisher B's ishy reputation for support might make me question their new Generic FPS, but it won't make me avoid something I'd wanted for awhile, like Wolfenstein, Morrowind or Civ III for example. But that's MY decision. Having bought it, I say do what the hell you want with it. Crack it, hack it, trainer it - whatever you want. Just don't give it to other people, and DO actually buy it in the first place.
Comparing a game to a car is a ridiculous proposition. You pay tens of thousands for a new car, and you trust your life to it. You pay tens of dollars for a new game, and if it corrupted your DX drivers you'd be counted unlucky.
Better to compare a game to a book, movie or a piece of art. Is that painting of sunflowers worth $14,000,000? Not to me! But someone wanted it at that price! Copying the original would, also, lessen the worth of that original. If he'd painted two, do you think they'd be worth 7,000,000 each? I doubt it. If a Publisher releases 500,000 units of a game, each one of those represents half a millionth of the labour of development, and financial risk of publishing. If L33t H4x0rrs create 450,000 units more, then aren't the originals diluted? "HEY! I didn't have to pay for this - I could just have picked it up for free!"
I actually BOUGHT Ultima Acension - so I know what you're talking about when you bemoan the buggy state of PC releases. Guess what? It didn't work and I took it back. Bought something else in the store. From then on I stuck to Baldur's gate style games for RPG's - outstanding value for money at 200+ hours gameplay.
If you pirated Max Payne, completed it, and bought a legit copy - you're either making a mod or a paragon of the virtues. I congratulate you in either case, but point out that in the Warez scene you stand out like Mother Theresa at a Hitler Youth garden party.
The Government spends its money where it thinks it'll do the most good. Right now Computer Crime is a vast field of untapped opportunity, plenty of big companies are willing to help out, and criminals still don't know how to run through not being chased yet. It won't end piracy, but if you've been making money off software you didn't develop or publish frankly you deserve to go to hell, not jail!
Sorry - you're stealing money off people who worked hard for their bonuses, and the impact on "Returns On Investment" figures means that many more niche titles won't see the light of day. And I don't mean crap games, but games aimed at more specialist markets. Sims for example (Simulations, not The Sims). It shouldn't be about whether it's "an issue" - pop pundits, politicians, pollsters and Spin Merchants talk about issues. I thought we were talking about Right and Wrong, and which side of that line Piracy came? Right and Wrong has damn all to do with politics - that's about the protection of interests. Seems those interests are now being protected more effectively - but Intellectual Property theft hasn't become "more wrong" because of it, it was always wrong.
Get a life? Because I don't like thieves? KEEP a life - don't sell warez to people down the market or mail order and don't run a warez server. Those are the people they're hopefully after - not the people who DL warez. Just be aware of the drugs metaphor that applies here, they may be after the Dealers, but the users are still fair game if they get caught.
(And no, that doesn't make the real bad guys the people making the drugs. To keep the metaphor going, the Industry is producing Prescription drugs through licensed outlets. It's the people stealing those drugs and selling them to addicts who are breaking the law).
By the way, sorry if this makes me somehow "small minded" because I won't change my opinion to support someone elses theft. I guess I DO have a problem seeing the other perspective here.