It's also a bit too cynical and just flat out wrongheaded to think that an ethical issue must generally be masking an economic one. . . I think listeners have an implicit pact with the artists they listen to not to do them harm, even if you didn't care for his or her move into rap or DIY noise. Without that, music just becomes an impersonal commodity, like Tide or Cheer.
Why all the hate for Tide and Cheer?
I think that once artists/labels threaten to sue their fans, the "implicit pact" has already been violated. The music industry is, in fact, an industry. Perhaps you're correct that I am being too cynical, but I believe that the major labels only talk the language of ethics when it is in their (perceived) financial interests to do so.
It might be the case that youare not thinking about these issues from a financial point of view. But I'm willing to bet that just about everyone else who is concerned with file sharing, YouTube, etc. is worried that this stuff might compromise profits or, in the case of smaller labels, the economic viability of the enterprise. They are not talking about this stuff because, in their heart of hearts, they are earnestly concerned about whether an artist's integrity has been disrespected when a fan uploads a video to YouTube. Most labels do not issue "take down" notices because they are committed to defending an ethical cause; they are trying to defend their wallets.
In my view, we cannot separate the ethics from the economics. We can do so theoretically, which, imo, makes for a good discussion. But we can't do so in practice. When I wish to show my appreciation for an artist, I buy his or her music. If I'm not putting my money where my appreciation lies, then what's the point? You can't release a CD or update your studio based on my positive experiences and well wishes. When all is said in done, we are trading commodities: my money for your art. I don't think that diminishes the value of the exchange or makes it impersonal (many people have an emotional relationship with the products they buy, including their laundry detergent).