The difference between these types of people (the merchants, builders, etc.) and the Pirate Bay is that the merchants give a portion of their profit back to the people that they are profiting off of. The Pirate Bay does not pay a single penny to the owners of the music that they dispense.
No. Do you know how a supermarket works? They have deals with various vendors and the vendors willingly put their products in the store. The vendors also get a cut when their product sells.
The pirate bay, on the other hand, makes money by giving free access against the wishes of the original authors. Those authors get absolutely noting out of it and the "non profit" funds a very nice lifestyle.
Here's what one of these original authors, Dan Bull, has to say: "I want to hear why Geoff Taylor is causing the closure of The Promo Bay, a wonderful feature which gives unsigned musicians the exposure that the BPI's affiliates never will. In the same week that The Pirate Bay allowed an unsigned musician to hit the charts, the BPI has had The Pirate Bay blocked - supposedly to protect the interests of artists like me. It is bullshit. We don't need the BPI"
Some stats about Dan's campaign.
In 3 days TPB = 55k unique visits for Dan's landing website from which 10k unique people clicked on paid links generating potentially (probably) thousands of pounds worth of revenue for the media industry.
More than double the number of people who clicked on a free download link, clicked on a paid download link.
Of course, you can say the value of a supermarket is to bring your product's awareness to the mass market. Which is very true, because it gains a lot of visibility.
And that's exactly what something like TPB does: it gives visibility to the different creations. It's just like radio: you get to enjoy free music, with ads. Only a small minority will actually buy the CD and go to the concert, but this is still worth it. TPB a radio for files. Whether they pay the creators or not is irrelevant. It still provides "value" to the creators in the first place by spreading their creations in the Netspace.