Just as many in the US are arguing that ridiculously high statutory fines for copyright infringement are at odds with any sense of fairness, it looks like the UK may be going in the other direction. Specifically, it's set to increase fines for criminal infringement by a factor of 10
, from £5,000 to £50,000. The only good thing is that the government rejected the idea that jailtime should be an option too. However, the process by which it came up with the new fines is pretty questionable as well. It asked for comments, and (of course) industry reps pushed for fines as high as possible. Since the general public doesn't pay nearly as much attention to such things, there was very little opposition -- though some pointed out that rather than setting a statutory rate, wouldn't it make sense to actually set fines based on how much actual damage is done. That seems like a good idea, but apparently it's easier to just use huge fines.