pilgrim wrote:Laws making downloading illegal are commercial laws, not precepts.
True, but only trivially so. Secular laws in general are not sikkhāpadas
pilgrim wrote:These laws can be changed at any time.
Earnest observance of the second precept cannot be separated from considerations of secular law. Whether the law in question be longstanding or ephemeral is irrelevant. Why? Because one of the necessary factors of transgression with this precept is that what is taken must be the property of another. If all the other factors are fulfilled but it turns out that what was taken was ownerless, then the precept is not transgressed. But what determines what counts as "property of another"? The texts define it as "that which another may use or dispose of as he pleases without incurring either the punishment of Kings [i.e. secular rulers of any sort]
or the blame of the wise."
pilgrim wrote:My precepts are not determined by officials in government.
In the case of the second precept it is certainly determined in part by the secular powers, excepting only those cases where there is a conflict between what would be deemed punishable by Kings and what would be deemed blameworthy by the wise. In these cases obviously the judgment of the wise gets prioritised, in the same way that in the monastic Vinaya the requirement that bhikkhus "conform to the wishes of the King" is abrogated in cases where the King's wishes are unrighteous.