As you've probably heard by now, a Minnesota woman was ordered last week by a federal judge to pay $220,000 for violating copyright restrictions with regards to sharing music online. After reading a couple articles about this (here's one from the Wall Street Journal), I have two major concerns.
First, this case seems to have created a dangerous precendent: The judge found that simply making the songs available for download constitutes copyright infringement. The fact that the RIAA couldn't prove that files were actually shared seems to have had no bearing on the verdict.
Secondly, $220,00 for 24 songs ($9, 250 per song) is grossly excessive.
I certainly support the RIAA in combating illegal file sharing and enforcing their intellectual property rights. Furthermorel, I don't feel completely sorry for this woman, as she had a chance to settle with the RIAA out of court and pay significantly less.
However, as it seems this is "making an example" of the defendant, the RIAA has been critized by many media organizations, saying the outcome was excessive and that the case was proportional to "David and Goliath."
Bottom line: I support the RIAA and other media organizations for enforcing their copyright holdings, but this is a bit out of whack.