"There are literally dozens of affordable, easy to use legal services."
You're right! IF you want to be able access the same range of content you can have though illegal means you'll have to sign up to dozens of different legal services. No problem right? That's not inconvenient at all!
Actually this is far more likely because of a huge shift in societal attitudes towards drunk driving. People better understand the dangers to both their health and others, and they also know that most of their friends, family and colleagues will have a very low opinion of their actions. This is why smoking is far less popular now, despite being perfectly legal.
"Instructing my computer to lie about its identity in order to break into a network that someone in authority had deliberately locked me out of would never even cross my mind; that is the act of a criminal..."
Before you so casually through out the 'criminal' accusation from up on your high horse, why don't you explain what harm his actions were causing that could possibly justify the harshness of the punishment he was facing.
"The sharks are not primarily costumes, but characters with a distinctive, recognizable look..."
You mean the distinctive, recognizable look of cartoon and toy sharks that've been around in numerous similar forms for decades? What rock have you been hiding under to think this shark design is something new and amazing?
The only way to truly disable these "features" is to not connect the TV to the internet. But then none of what makes these TV's "smart" will work, meaning you've wasted your money. So if you don't want to potentially be spied on the obvious thing to do is not buy one in the first place. Just get a regular TV and plug in devices over which you have more control.
"We have constantly higher death rates from all kinds of other activities, after all."
Exactly. The 9/11 deaths were equivalent to just 26 days worth of US road deaths in 2001, or 33 days worth of 2012 numbers. Where's the War on Car Crashes? Where are the Constitution-quashing laws put in place to prevent this far worse ongoing tragedy!
Re: This is why we need to keep the 2nd ammendment
"...if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. This is cliche, but true."
Except there has never been a serious argument about outlawing guns. It's simply never been on the table for anyone other than the rabid gun nuts looking for a strawman to attack. Bringing it up removes any chance of your comment being taken seriously.
"Just because there are risks, i.e., piracy, why shouldn't they do anything to mitigate those risks?"
Nobody has ever said they shouldn't do anything, but it's pretty damn clear that what they are doing now is not working. You seem to be suffering from the MPAA's special kind of insanity, where they do the same thing over and over and expect the results to change. Don’t you think it's time they tried something completely different?
There have been dozens of independent studies done over the years making a very strong case that piracy costs company's a lot less than they claim, and actually help them a lot more than they'd admit. Platforms like iTunes and Netflix overwhelmingly prove that people will pay for reasonably priced content that is offered in a convenient, consumer-friendly method. This is something the MPAA's member studios have failed spectacularly at. A bit of common sense would suggest that diverting a significant amount of the money and time spend on anti-piracy efforts into meeting consumer's widespread pleas for better content provided the way people actually want could well provide a nett benefit for everyone (except maybe IP lawyers...). Piracy will never go away entirely, but who cares if everyone is getting more of what they want.