With regards Torrents - I agree with the poster above. To label it a crime is to misunderstand what the majority of people use it for. I too find it easier to download than "rip" something I've already purchased. I have also "tried before I buy", if I like something I will purchase it, whereas if I did it the other way the stores would not offer me a refund or exchange. Perhaps the industry needs to start fitting in with what the consumer wants rather than the opposite. I applaud bands like Coldplay that have recently offered downloads on a "pay us what you think it's worth basis", people are genuinely honest but are scared of getting their fingers burnt by unscrupulous multi-nationals. Take this season 2 blu-ray release as an example - they have made mistakes, I don't think it is worth the £60 they're asking, I would however part with £50 for it.
I agree with a lot of the sentiment in this post, especially the use of torrents as "trying before you buy". I do that for tons of anime, because the prices Japan wants for Blu-rays with ridiculously low amounts of episodes (2-4 is common) are absurd before
factoring in shipping. If there's a US release, I'll pay up if I liked the show (and the licensor is a company I feel is worthy of getting my money). With something like this, where you 1) don't get a chance to preview it and 2) are gonna wind up paying for a lot of chaff for a few good episodes, torrents are a good way for people to determine if the set is worth their money if they aren't hooked into the active discussions about the TNG remastering.
That said, I agree that street dates are becoming more and more obsolete, but they're a necessity for brick and mortar outfits like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. But I also feel that "all or nothing releases" where you have to get everything
also hurt sales, especially for a show where the first two seasons aren't all that great. It would be wonderful if there was a Steam like system where you could buy the episodes and special features you want and maybe pay a little extra to get a Blu-Ray set shipped to you if your internet connection sucks, but we're nowhere near there thanks to shortsightedness of the entertainment industry.