First of all, below is personal view, I don't claim any as fact, which is something that should be stressed more often I think...
Piracy (at sea) is a crime.
Depending on where you are, I think downloading copyrighted stuff is not. It's a felony at most, unless something changed recently... (ianal)
Does that mean infringing copyright OK all the time? no.
Does that mean it's OK sometimes? probably.
There's no black and white in this. Only gray. With lots of propaganda from both sides. Gosh, it's just as bad as politics. Then again, most of it IS politics. Stay clear!
I'm just saying it's way too easy to adopt terminology that is carefully inserted by the big players with marketing money to mold opinions of the masses.
It is quite obvious that copyright law as it is, is not in sync with the real world. And the playing field is corporations with big bucks versus people without big bucks (after all, if they had the money, they'd be more likely to pay for the software). It's also quite obvious that there's something wrong with never paying for software by a small independent starving lone developer if you DO have the money to support them (which goes for BOTH payware AND Free software!).
We need people like TPB who, eventhough they might be on the other extreme of the argument, at least stand up for their rights against the giants for the sake of all of us.
And more on topic, the fact that they are donating the money exactly for that cause is probably way better than them getting sued into oblivion.