Copyright violations associated with file sharing are becoming so widespread and prevalent that actually prosecuting people because of them would put the entire country in jail. At this point, the only way to combat copyright violations is to take an entirely new approach to how files are distributed on the Internet, not by penalizing people.
I believe that the penalties associated with file sharing of copyrighted material should be reduced. These penalties are suppose to cover the damages caused by filing sharing but in my opinion they go above and beyond that. They should be reduced to a reasonable amount to cover the costs of charging the violator without financially killing them for the rest of their life.
Let's get one thing straight right away: File sharing copyright violations are stealing. There's no way around that. But claiming that a single download costs a company millions of dollars is way into drama queen territory. Fix the damages at some compensation for legal costs and the retail cost of whatever was downloaded, and that's it.
File sharing copyright violations are the equivalent of stealing. The person that owns the content does not reap the benefits of his/her hard work when other people are pirating their work. It is the equivalent of taking something that does not belong to us without paying. Whether online, or in stores, that is considered stealing.
No, the penalties associated with file sharing copyright violations should not be reduced, because only the largest violations are ever prosecuted. Most of the time, it has to be copyright violations on a large scale in order for a prosecutorial authority to take notice. People sitting at home downloading files are rarely held accountable, so the penalties do not need to change.