Well, my apologies then. I'd guess that the Paul Clayton, Great Big Sea, Ashley MacIsaac and several other CDs that I bought solely because I was able to download a few tracks to hear what was on the disc before buying and liked them are figments of my imagination.
I'd also say that regardless of WHO owns the material, if it's out of print and no longer offered for sale, it's not hurting the label if it's not released. I can't believe that someone suffers damage when someone fails to buy a recording that doesn't exist to be purchased.
And as to the samples on the web... Unfortunately, that's not a reliable indicator of what the product will be. Most sites I've seen include only one or two tracks from any given album. If the album is weak, the artist (or label) is NOT going to include that material on the website. But it's not an indicator, as the lack of samples can also be indicative of a lack of storage space, a distaste for providing samples, creative disagreements within the deciding group, what have you. The lack of samples may be covering a horrible album, or it may be covering a true gem. Likewise, the samples themselves don't necessarily give a true feel for the songs on many occasions. It's easy to take a twenty second section of a hook filled chorus for a crap song.
I'll freely admit that MANY people seriously abused the service. Heck, I know people myself that had 2-3 gig of space of NOTHING but downloaded MP3s. But the fact is that I do not consider my uses of the service inappropriate. I can very truthfully state that any song I downloaded was either something I already owned, something I purchased, or was deleted once a decision was made. I know others that did the same.