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Feb. 13th, 2005 | 06:18 pm


"Penalties of Stealing vs. Infringing

"Cease and Desist letters for people using BitTorrent to download TV shows are becoming more frequent (example). So I decided to read up on the United States Code cited in these letters.

"Just out of interest, I also decided to read up on what the penalties for real, physical theft are.

"The conclusion is that under our current laws, copying files over the Internet would seem to be more onerous than actual, physical stealing.

"Summary

StealingInfringing
Absolute
Minimum
$0
no jail
$4,400
Absolute
Maximum
$100,000
1 year jail
$3,400,000
1 year jail
lawyer fees and costs
Real World
Example
Winona Ryder*:
$2,700 fine
$6,355 restitution
$1,000 court cost
3 years probation
An Average RIAA settlement**:
$14,875
"

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