Is the punishment for illegal file sharing too steep? If you’re caught illegally downloading, you can face charges up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in jail. To me, that’s absolutely ridiculous. This system has been in place for way too long and needs some serious revision. If a song, on average, costs $1.29 (based on iTunes), I just don’t see the logistics behind coming up with such a hefty fine.
Another thing that really bothers me about this law is the fact that the artists aren’t the ones seeing any of the money from these cases. There are actually firms whose job is to find people that have illegally used/sampled music and sue them. Usually what happens is they buy the rights to the music with the intent to make lots of money by suing. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised considering money makes the world run and that’s a fast way to make it.
While these cases don’t actually follow through with the full extent of the law (usually ISP’s will just tell you to stop doing it), that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. A woman from Minnesota was ordered to pay a $220,000 fine for illegally downloading 24 songs. 24 songs ($9,250/song). She was one of 18,000 people sued by the RIAA between 2003-2008. Of course piracy is unfair and people really shouldn’t do it, but like I said before, the penalties for participating in it should be vastly revised. If you’d like, you can read the full article from Rolling Stone here.