Frankly, all the anti/pro sharing/piracy/censorship hullabaloo of late was starting to make me sick. I seem to remember a time when people enjoyed culture, instead of just bickering about who owns it. So to get my mind off all that I decided to spend a little time looking into music that was out there for free, and legally. And there is, actually, a lot of it. Obviously there's a lot of uninteresting junk out there (but the same applies to commercial mainstream music too, of course, perhaps even more so), and finding the gems among all of it takes time and work. But there are definitely gems to be found.
Jamendo is one pretty neat site with lots of independent and amateur music you can stream there on the site, or download. Here's a handful of cool artists I've found there and through other sources.
Hungry Lucy. This duo has been characterised as trip-hop and darkwave. Nice female vocals and mellow electronic sounds, etc. I find them quite pleasant and relaxing to listen to. (Here's their latest album Pulse of the Earth at Jamendo. Others available there as well.)
Sweet Mother Logic. A really hard to classify instrumental band, who combine rock instruments, synths and cellos in a very interesting fashion. (Their eponymous album at Jamendo.)
Williamson. Another talented instrumental artist, this one leaning perhaps towards a more post-rock sound. (His debut album A Few Things to Hear Before We All Blow Up at Jamendo. A couple more releases there as well.)
These are relatively unknown indie artists, of course. But even well known artists occasionally release free material for the benefit of their fans. One example is Nine Inch Nails, whose last couple releases, The Slip and Ghosts I-IV, were Creative Commons licensed. The first is an eclectic collection of industrial rock songs and more ambient pieces, while the latter is a lengthy instrumental ambient work. (Download links can be found for example in the Wikipedia articles on the albums.)
Music from all the artists listed here can be bought as well, of course, and you should buy it, if you like it and are in a position to do so. I still believe that a carrot generally gets you more than a stick, though. Letting people experience your works has to be better PR than nagging about copyrights, right?