No. What it does is force new alternatives. Napster gives way to Kazaa that gives way to Limewire that gives way to torrents and from there to Megaupload and its ilk, and now that the direct download sites are under attack, something new will pop up. Why?
BECAUSE I DO NOT BUY SHIT IF I DON'T KNOW IF I LIKE IT OR NOT. I don't know why this is so hard for these people to understand. I am not just going to buy a DVD or a CD without having seen or heard it first. I don't have the money to throw around on a whim, and most other people don't, either. I've purchased things I never would have without downloading them first, because I never would have known those things existed. When was the last time you heard Gogol Bordello on the radio? Exactly. But I have four of their CDs and have gone to two concerts, and I guarantee you I never would have even known about them at all if I hadn't been exposed to their music online.
Also, I rarely buy books. I read them for free from the library. How come no one's shutting down the libraries? What's the difference, really?
If I had to actually purchase all the media I consume then I simply wouldn't consume much at all. That's what these imbeciles don't get. I have a finite amount of money. I'm not just going to magically have more because you shut off my access to popular culture. If the only way I can listen to that song that I'm so-so on is to buy it then I just won't buy it. I don't download movies, so if something comes out and it doesn't excite me enough to go out to the theaters, then I just fucking wait till I can watch it for free when the library buys the DVD. The end. I don't even Redbox that shit. BECAUSE I CANNOT AFFORD TO BUY ALL MY ENTERTAINMENT. Sorry, media. Sorry, studio execs and producers and everyone else. That's just the way it is.
They act like it's a zero-sum game and it's not. If I download an episode of American Horror Story because I missed it and I'm so far behind the episodes aren't up on Hulu anymore, I haven't stolen anything. Nothing is missing. I already missed the live airing so I'm not counting in the ratings anyway and whether I watch it six weeks later will have no impact on their ad sales. But if I have the chance to go ahead and watch it by downloading it? I might end up buying it when it comes out on DVD. I certainly won't buy it sight unseen, that's for damn sure. I don't know why they can't see this fact. It's not that hard to figure out.
(I have been thinking countless iterations of this rant since last week. Reading that article finally put me over the edge.)