Lazy town memes have this weird tendency to fade away then come back stronger than ever after like 2 years. Dunno how to really explain it. God knows I got tired of listening to "we are number one" in recent times. I digress, though.
This post is by no means a defense of piracy. Hear me out for a sec though.
Fuwa has been a weird place over the last few years. As I'm sure you all know, we used to be a VN-hosting website, with a bunch of pre-patched torrents that collectively pissed off the entire existing community when we started hosting them because translators didn't want their patches pre-patched so they wouldn't be associated with piracy and there was like a 1/4 chance something weird would break in the games we were pre-patching when we first started doing it (though by the time we stopped hosting them, we were actually pretty good at it.)
Aaeru, our creator, who is now a blur in the forums and you can only find via remembering exactly where she posted or via our discontinued gift bot (who has none of her involvement or her personality, but does maintan her avatar) was vehemently pro-piracy, going so far as to include a text file in every single one of our old torrents explaining how piracy was a good thing for an industry, an idea she passionately championed.
A few years ago, we stopped hosting torrents, a decision that was probably for the best, and we got to this. What we currently have in the forums. Saying you have pirated a visual novel will lead to a slap in your wrist, and we're all more or less supposed to pretend no one pirates anything, even though everyone knows that's not the case. Like talking about being a nazi in germany, you will be strongly admonished, though without the getting arrested and loathed part. But hey, our torrents didn't enact a terrible, irrational and disgusting massacre against our fellow human beings, so I think the reaction being weaker is justified. Just a little bit.
There are several reasons that lead people to pirate things. One big problem is torrents. If this was back in the old days, where you had to download daemons tools, install that, figure out how to use it and, download 20 parts of zip files through your shitty wifi connection with the hosting service also being complete garbage and half of those files randomly crashing because internet and servers are a potato and you having to start their download from the beginning then figuring out how to install the patch it might be a pain, but torrents are very convenient.
It is literally easier for me to download a torrent for grisaia than it is for me to buy it right now. I will spend less time and go through less steps by downloading this torrent than I would if I tried to buy it. That is a serious problem, because I will obviously spend less money downloading a torrent for grisaia than I would if I bought it, and if I'm even slightly savvy at this, the torrent will be no less safe than buying the game.
And that's for official releases. Fan translations are a completely different beast. No normal person will go out of their way to buy a game in japanese going through sites they don't understand or having to deal with the long ass 2 week wait and uncertain clusterfuck that is international shopping to then apply a fan patch to read a game just because they want to support the industry.
The average VN reader does not give half a fuck about the industry, and that will never change.
You are probably a pirate. Chances are that if you are reading this, you are either a complete newcomer who hasn't even read 50 VNs or you have pirated games before. Because it's much much easier and more convenient to be one. Out of all the people this post will reach, I doubt even 5 go out of their way to buy jp games then patch them.
And there's so many more small things that add up to it. If I want to buy VNs, I need to make accounts in like 5 different websites and input my credit card info in all of them when I could literally just go to the same torrent site and download all of them without any of the extra steps.
I think the way VNs are sold needs to change somehow for them to actually get the sales they could get. No clue how, though. But until someone figures out how to do it, the vast majority of readers will continue being pirates. Because it's easier, convenient, doesn't take money and no one cares about the consequences.