>>"But people using a 'network' to transfer data? isn't that what networks are for?"
Even if the data doesn't belong to them?
>>"people have copied each other music, films and software for years."
True, but it used to be rather more face-to-face, and there was a definite *sharing* aspect to it.
If there'd been someone who was just a leech, and was getting copies from other people but never buying anything to share, unless there were extenuating circumstances, people would generally tire of them and stop sharing.
That's pretty hard to do in an anonymous situation. Even if people area asked/required to contribute content rather than just take it, the total freeloader can just 'contribute' stuff they got for nothing elsewhere.
>>"People copying are not criminals so long as they're not making money from it."
That's an opinion, but as far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be the UK law's opinion regarding making content available, *if* there is harm to the rights holder (though I'm not sure how that is supposed to be adequately proved).
People can certainly argue that making content available for other people to share *shouldn't* be an offence, the same way people can argue that smoking pot shouldn't be illegal, but in reality, however strongly-held an opinion is, 'should' and 'is' aren't the same thing.