I read something a few months back that really struck me. I don't recall the source, so I'll try to paraphrase to the best of my ability. The basic tenant is that punishing a crime with the intent to get back at the offender is nothing more than revenge and is not the intent of the rule of law. The rule of law is to 1) remove violent and disruptive individuals from society, 2) discourage others from perpetrating the same crime.
In cases with violent and disruptive components, such as assault and drug dealing, it's very clear that incarceration is the best option. For non-violent crimes, such as IP theft, money laundering, etc, it's not really so clear. Since the intent this time wasn't to remove the individual from society (which I think we call can agree wasn't necessary in this case) that means that the judge somehow A) determined the value of the stolen film, B) decided that 33 months was the amount of incarceration that would discourage others from stealing the same "value" of property. The judge ruled out public service, ruled out probation, and ruled out fines as an acceptable deterrent to future offenders. While it's easy not to agree with the ruling, it takes a very good understanding of human psyche to know when a penalty is enough to discourage OTHERS from committing the same crime.