I read an interesting article by Mike Masnick of Tech Dirt this morning comparing the severity of penalties for copyright infringement and for other similar crimes. He argues that jumping the turnstile at the subway or not paying rent are similar crimes since the only real harm is that they deprive the plaintiff of revenue they might otherwise have gained. In the case of rent the amount of money due is typically the rent you didn't pay. In New York the fine for jumping the turnstile is $100. But a woman is currently being ordered to pay $54,000 for downloading 24 songs she could have bought for $24, and that was lowered on appeal down from $1.5 million dollars.
And copyright holders want to strengthen copyright law???
If 24 songs cost $54,000 then each $1 song cost $2,250 and by that math, jumping the $2.50 turnstile in New York should cost $5,625, which is obviously a ridiculous penalty.
But read the whole article here.