Originally Posted by mr ploppy
It needs to be more in line with what you would get for a similar offence with a physical item (excluding when the government orders magistrates to set an example). Anything else is just silly.
There's a problem there though. The scales of volume are entirely different with copyright infringement.
Take speeding fines (afaik you get one fine per journey, not one per camera you've sped through), with shop lifting, most people take a single or few items in one go (ignoring mass scale theft which is a totally different punishment)
With copyright infringement someone can download 100's or 1000's of files in a single evening, or numerous files every night. If fines are per item or per offence, the fines would be anything but reasonable.
If the fines are for all activity up to the point the fine is issued, then arguably it'd be too small, unless the fine can be increased for repeat offences with the potential of a court case where much higher fines can be applied.
I really don't see an easy answer to this. There needs to be something to discourage people. It needs to be sufficient to do so, without been blindly applied such that it impacts people who are otherwise honest and have been taken advantage of, their machine used by friends, wifi used or simply didn't realise the site was infringing. In those cases, a small fine could be a sufficient annoyance to make those people look at why and stop it. Problem is, it's likely not sufficient for everyday downloaders who know full well what they're doing. Very difficult balance imo.