Originally Posted by Kolenka
Copyright infringement started out purely as a civil offense, rather than criminal.
I believe you are right.
'Criminal copyright infringement' has been part of our [United States] jurisprudence for over a century.
And of course the US is a lot older than that.
My last link notes that some forms of copyright infringement became, in 1982, in the US, felonies. That's way harsher than is wise. When laws are so harsh, against offenses so common, they aren't enforced. Make it like a parking ticket. Give the kingpins probation.