It’s kind of silly that maximalists and luddites keep jumping back to this trope. The idea that if you can get something for free, no one will ever pay for it. That’s never been true and will never be true. All of the works that people pay and download to their Kindles are already available for free on unauthorized sites. But tons of people pay. All of the music that people pay and download to their iPods is already available for free on unauthorized sites. But tons of people pay. People will pay all the time for things they can get for free. Just check out the bottled water industry.
Because there’s never been a universal consensus as to what, exactly, “piracy” and “theft” mean when used in the copyright context, different people with different agendas use them to evoke different concepts. George Orwell famously criticized the “dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power” after being repeatedly used by people who no longer even know what they originally meant. That’s sort of what’s going on in today’s copyright debate with “piracy” and “theft,” but with the twist that the meanings of these metaphors were never particularly clear to begin with.