So, I've yet to hear a viable alternative.
BS - yes, but no alternatives.
Why does their need to be a viable alternative? Copyright works. Seriously. It does. Content creators need no more protection.
GAO wrote a paper in April of 2010, trying to objectively access the affects of piracy:
"Three commonly cited estimates of U.S. industry losses due to counterfeiting have been sourced to U.S. agencies, but cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.
First, a number of industry, media, and government publications have cited an FBI estimate that U.S. businesses lose $200-$250 billion to counterfeiting on an annual basis. This estimate was contained in a 2002 FBI press release, but FBI officials told us that it has no record of source data or methodology for generating the estimate and that it cannot be corroborated.
Second, a 2002 CBP press release contained an estimate that U.S. businesses and industries lose $200 billion a year in revenue and 750,000 jobs due to counterfeits of merchandise. However, a CBP official stated that these figures are of uncertain origin, have been discredited, and are no longer used by CBP. A March 2009 CBP internal memo was circulated to inform staff not to use the figures. However, another entity within DHS continues to use them.
Third, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association reported an estimate that the U.S. automotive parts industry has lost $3 billion in sales due to counterfeit goods and attributed the figure to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The OECD has also referenced this estimate in its report on counterfeiting and piracy, citing the association report that is sourced to the FTC. However, when we contacted FTC officials to substantiate the estimate, they were unable to locate any record or source of this estimate within its reports or archives, and officials could not recall the agency ever developing or using this estimate. These estimates attributed to FBI, CBP, and FTC continue to be referenced by various industry and government sources as evidence of the significance of the counterfeiting and piracy problem to the U.S. economy."
I can however point you to real-life examples of where piracy helped (I would like to point out this does not justify piracy in the least): Paul Cohen, Neil Gaimen.
I can also point you to examples where piracy sucked, but didn't hurt their bottom line because since they were selling the game at < $5 you can pretty much conclude these people would _never_ have actually bought the product: Gish.
I can point you to examples where the fear of piracy hurts sales: Harry Potter eBooks.
Again, all this evidence points to one thing: copyright is enough. You don't need anymore protection. You may be willing to give up your right to browse anonymously (sans court order anyway... yes the ISP could, today, embarrass the crap out of everyone) so that people can more easily track their electronic goods. I am not. No third party is getting my data (w/ identifiers) without my express permission, and the ISPs aren't going to sniff and potentially punish me based on some arbitrary decision on what they think is illegal sharing. Dear god, I don't even want to know what the RIAA thinks of my Pogoplug slinging music from Indiana to wherever I'm traveling to.