There is an important difference. A watch has value. It can be resold. When I steal your watch, it isn't because I want a watch, it's so I can sell it for cash at a pawn shop. Most of what the studios call copyright infringement involve purely non-tangible products. No actual monetary value.
This nonsense always angers me. Look up the concept of economic loss. The argument that physical property has inherent value, but intellectual property does not is extremely ignorant. Everything has a value. Intangible intellectual property has a value just the same as a watch, because it took human beings time and effort to create it, which has a cost. Human labor is just as finite as any physical raw material.
If I invest a year of my life into writing a book, or filming a movie, or writing music, I forego earning an income from other work I could have done. I still have to pay all my own bills and other costs. So I have every right to earn whatever potential income arises from the sale of my work, down to the last possible penny. Pirates on the other hand have absolutely no legal or moral right to my work. I can price it as high or as low as I want, I can decide to release it (or not) in any way that I want, whenever I want. By virtue of being its creator, I have the right over a piece of work, not some parasite who didn't lift a finger to aid in its creation, took no risks, bore no costs, and yet feels entitled to obtain my work for free on their terms.
Someone mentioned the example of video games and piracy. Since video games are entirely a digital product, they've been hit very hard by piracy. I wrote a lengthy article about it - google "PC piracy" and hit up the first result to read it. But the following is a nice example of exactly the type of scumbags pirates are: a few years ago, a package of 5 independent games was put on sale, with the proceeds going to charity. Importantly, you could name your own price for the bundle, paying as little as $1 for it if you wanted. Guess what, a large number of people still pirated the charity bundle. Throw out all the arguments about piracy primarily being about taking from large greedy companies, or because the prices are too high, or because of DRM.
Piracy is just a manifestation of human greed, pure and simple. Under the anonymity of the Internet, and given no real chance of being caught or prosecuted, people freely obtain entertainment products because they can. And let's remember, all of these pirated products are luxuries, not necessities. I can understand stealing a loaf of bread because your family is hungry. But pirating a movie or TV show just because it's not at the price you want, or released when you want, or in the format you want? Selfish thoughtless greed, pure and simple.
Edited by Persianimmortal, May 12 2013 - 04:55 PM.