These fines have two purposes: 1) recompensate the copyright holder for economic losses, 2) deter future infringment by both the violator and others.
(1) clearly is greatly exaggerated under current policies. A single instance of downloading in violation of copyright all tracks from a particular CD at most constititues an economic loss to the copyright holder in the amount of the payment the copyright holder would have received from a retail sale of this CD.
In a single instance of acquiring an entire CD in violation of copyright, this is the maximum economic loss. However, in the most common cases, such as where only one or two tracks are acquired, or where the violator would not have been willing (in the absence of the availability of the infringing copy) or able to acquire a retail copy of the material, the actual economic loss to the copyright holder is only a small percentage of payment for a retail copy, or even non-existant.
But what about when the violator himself or herself redistributes infringing copies of the copyrighted material? Who here should bear the burden of economic loss to the copyright holder? If the original violator bears the economic burden, then future violators in the same "copy tree" can not also be made to bear the economic burden, because the copyright holder has already been compensated.
To charge that the original violator ought to bear the economic burden incurred by the intentional and willful acts of all future violators in the same copy tree, is to assign responsibility to one person for the uncoerced, intentional, and willfull infringing acts of another, to which the original violator contributed no force or persuassion. To do this is seriously morally troubling; I am not responsible for the uncoerced, willfull acts of other self-determining, copetent agents.
Therefore, the only economic burden that a violator may be made to bear for a single instance of infringment, is the actual economic loss incurred by this single instance of infringment.
This sets the upper bound for the recompensatory component of the fine at the actual economic loss incurred by the copyright holder for this single act of infringment; about $15 for all tracks from a single CD.
The fine may increase in consideration of the deterrent component, but the deterrent must correspond reasonably to the recompensatory component, even if this means that in cases of minor economic loss the deterrent will not be great.
This is as it should be; deterring minor econimic loss is surely much less the concern of law than deterring major or devestating economic loss.
I suspect that reasonable and morally conscious people will conclude that the deterrent component not exceed twice the compensatory component, and should approach this only in cases of the most flagarent infringment indicating a severe opposition to the rule of law.
Therefore, in the case of even the most flagarent infringement, the total fine for the infringing copying of all tracks of a CD will not exceed $15 x 3; $45.
If I distribute all tracks of this CD 100 times, for example, then the maximum fine I may be assigned is $4500.