Re: Artists are being forced into poverty
@Crisp: I know it's sarcasm, but Stan Lee made his money before mass copying. He also worked in a medium (print comics) which is relatively difficult to copy and share, even in the digital age (but as more and more publications go to tablets, piracy will bite them too). Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with some musicians, or especially filmmakers, and make that argument to them - the result may open your eyes.
Basically, the "X is rich, so I don't have to pay for the work of Y" argument is like stealing from your local corner shop and justifying it because, as a grocer, they must have the same amount of cash as Tesco. There are very few mega-rich artists, and a hell of a lot whose average earnings are less than a competent IT professional can expect.
@PyLETS - Holz and Sklyarov had legitimate motives for their work, and it could be argued that the facilitation of piracy was not their main objective, but rather an unfortunate side-effect of circumventing the copy protections in place. Neither of them set out to profit from the work (although it's debatable in the case of Sklyarov).
However, O'Dwyer and Dotcom are completely different category: they operated, for personal gain, services for the unlicensed redistribution of other people's work. Sure, MegaUpload was sometimes used for legitimate purposes, but the majority of the content that was found there was unlicensed copies of feature films. These guys were opportunistic scumbags, and if you really think they were running these services to take some kind of stand on artist freedoms, you're an idiot.