Specifically, they're going to begin slapping lawsuits today on several hundred users who have what they call "substantial collections" of MP3s on their computers. How many files constitutes substantial? They're not "sharing" that information (get it? Sharing?), which means it could be as many as a thousand or as few as fifty. Who knows. But they're talking about fines up to 150k PER FILE!
The lawsuit circus stems from a court ruling a few weeks ago requiring ISPs to provide the IDs of users suspected of illegally sharing music and movie files.
The music industry's intentions and motives here a far from secret -- they're hurting financially (album sales have dropped considerably and continue to do so). Internet file swapping has basically made music stores into ghost towns, while users make copies of the albums from the comfort of their homes.
Still, I can't help but liken this to when a drug dealer gets two years on a plea bargain, but the poor idiot addict gets thrown into the slammer for fifteen years for taking the drugs. I know, it's all illegal. I'm not denying that. But still, this means that some fifteen year old kid's parents could be mortgaging their house because their son likes downloading music a little bit too much.