I agree with you, stealing is stealing, doesn't matter how you put it. And "by law", you are absolutely right! Proving specific damages is another matter entirely. The problem is, when you are about to punish counterfeiters that make money, public is behind you. When you are about to punish "hackers" that break into computers, public is behind you. But when you are about to punish ordinary citizens (and in some cases, school kids) it is not that simple. Sure, if we are talking about people like us, registered at private trackers, invite only entrance, keeping their ratios intact, we are talking about savvy "pirates"! We know exactly what we are doing! But what about school kid, or a mom, innocently browsing the web, comes across a link that says - "DOWNLOAD THIS MOVIE FOR FREE"? He or she just clicks on the link, gets an offer to install client program to download content, and just downloads that movie! As simple as that! And the very next day, BAM! You are being sued for copyright infringement!
I just remembered a case when a woman sued McDonald's for not putting warning on a cup of coffee about the drink being HOT!!!! And she won!