In the appeal for the first filesharing case that went to trial, the defendant has argued that “the statutory damages sought by the labels ($750-150,000) are unconstitutional.”
The court awarded the plaintiffs $9,250 per song.
The actual cost incurred by the labels, assuming every pirated song was a lost sale, is approximately $0.70 per song.
How is it reasonable to penalize someone $9,250 for possibly causing someone else to lose less money than the cost of a candy bar?
Then there’s this issue:
The [RIAA] might also argue that capping damages at 70¢ per song is not appropriate, given that the songs may have been downloaded countless times from the defendant over a P2P network. One potential problem with that argument is that the labels are unable to show any evidence that the songs have been downloaded by anyone other than SafeNet, the company retained by the RIAA to investigate illicit downloading.
If SafeNet was authorized by the RIAA to download those songs, have any crimes actually taken place?