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Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

An anonymous reader writes *** that $62,500 per song is excessively high seems to be something that everyone can agree on, but what actually is fair seems to be a big point of contention.”

At the St. Johns Music Conference i attended last week i quoted an article from Rolling Stone Magazine and posed two questions:

“At the heart of the approach France and Britain are taking is the so-called “graduated response,” by which ISP’s would be required to issue warnings to serious offenders to stop illegal file-sharing. This is the most sensible legislation to emerge in the past decade to deal with “free.” It is immeasurably better than the ugly alternative of suing hundreds of thousands of individuals.”

-Paul McGuinness (U2’s manager) – Rolling Stone, 9/10/2010

1. Which is the better approach to teaching children to pay for copyrighted music rather than downloading and sharing it for free?
(a) the U.S. response – strict liability, exemplary statutory punishment);
(b) the French/British graduated response – ISP termination of internet service;
(c) combination of (b) and (a);
(d) none of the above.

2. Could one formulate a graduated response strong enough to lead most users toward buying music rather than downloading free, yet with process so fair and sanctions so gentle that those on whom the sanctions fall (and their parents) would consider them fair?

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