Yeah so we've known for some time that running a file sharing site for illegally redistributed content is bad news from a legal liability standpoint ... but I am still surprised by what kinds of activities in our modern age get you jail time.
Is the fundamental issue "loss of money"? Well, the executives of the big banks in the world -- men like Charles Prince (Citigroup), Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide - collapsed), Alan Schwartz (Bear Stearns - collapsed) -- have lost far more money. They have lost money for investors, customers, and more recently taxpayers and even your children and your children's children. The damage caused by the systems they were responsible for is far greater han any of these file sharing misdemeanors. This is like comparing an out of control leaf fire in someone's backyard to the carpet bombing of a city.
But what happens to investment bank executives who lost ridiculous sums (we're talking trillions) and ruined the lives of many? Probably nothing... hell, the previous Goldman Sachs CEO was put in charge of the US Treasury Department (Paulson) where he proceeded to redistribute public money to colleagues. Some may argue that men like Paulson, Greenspan, and Bernanke are committing acts of treason by taking money out of the national treasury and diverting it into the hands of the wealthiest elite, the top 1% of society.
But don't expect to see any of these men in jail any time soon. Because in this world, the people who commit the grandest acts of financial theft and destruction are rewarded with lavish salaries and pensions, while the jails are filled with pot smokers, shoplifters, and guys who run file sharing web sites.