Before I begin, I think I should point out that part of my reply is not directed at Canada since it is possible to argue (although I would disagree, yet accept the logic of the argument) that downloading is allowed by law in Canada, due to certain statutes and taxes.
Also, it is odd that there was no attempt to settle with regards to the student. But since it is a criminal matter is could be different.
The place where the shop was located was not in a depressed area as easily more than half the cars in the areas are made up of Mercs, BMW, Lexus and houses in the area easily cost more than a million. And the other shops in the area are not suffering that much. Recession affects different places differently.
Now you are right that recession may play a role. But quite apart from the fall in demand due to lack of money, people may decide to "stretch" their money. So for example, a person wants this CD that cost $20. Without online piracy, he may perhaps have to not get that coffee or bring a sandwich to lunch for a day or two so as to save the $20 for the CD. But with online piracy the person may just decide to download the CD and not but it.
I believe that it is not just the improvement in the economy that resulted the increase in profits but that the availability of legitimate online music to the suits against people who download also contributed.
2) Effect on Sale
To claim that online piracy has NO effect on sales is wrong perception. True it may not have that much of an effect but with 7 trillion songs at its peak on one network, it would be wilfully blind to claim that such action have No effect on sales.
3) "Hurt too badly"
Even if it did not have any effect on sales, the act of online piracy is against the law, whether civil or criminal. If someone broke into a house and stole some stuff, the criminal cannot claim that the owner will never use that stuff ever again and therefore, the owner suffered no loss and charges for theft should thus be dropped.
The law does not look at whether the theft hurt the person badly. If it did, it will mean that if one were to break into Bill Gate's house and stole $100,000 worth of goods, that action is justified because compared to his $50 billion(?) worth of assets that $100,000 loss did not hurt him too badly.
4) Online Piracy v Technology and Peer to Peer
As I have stated earlier, I believe the focus should be on people who actually did the pirating and not the network. This position is not in conflict with EFF. As the passage by Fred von Lohmann shows, he is concerned about the impact suing the networks have on technology. I understand that position and support it, which is why I support the focus on the people who did the piracy. I even understand the position that suits if done not in the correct measure could infringe on personal privacy. If there is no piracy, then the industry need not come up with all those copyright protection measures. It is a simple case of piracy if one directs the suit not at the network (which I agree should be kept out) but at the people who did the downloading.
To a certain extent one can distinguish ruling on the original network (Napster, Grok) since in those instance there was a sort of central database and the peer to peer system was created in response to the rulings.
5) PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY
A little attempt at a joke. The Democrats should have focused on online piracy because it seems that this is one area where a large group of people adopt the traditional or stereotypical Democrat platform. An Example:
There is a need to focus on personal responsibility. One should not be entitled to something, especially not something that is not essential to life. If one wants a luxury, one should work hard to earn money to get it rather than to ask for a handout. Greater profits for the corporation means that the corporation can use the money to invest and create more jobs just much in the same way as tax cuts. One should be tough on crime and not allow criminals to escape.