xkcd Understates the Case for Piracy

Garden-variety downloading opens you up to civil liability, but it doesn’t make you a criminal. You’re only a criminal if you (a) infringe for profit, (b) infringe more than $1,000 worth over a 6-month period, or (c) put a pre-release copy online.

UPDATE: To be fair to the DRM-crackers, I should note that the criminal penalties there also don’t apply unless the circumvention was for profit.

Yeah, but aren’t there those that argue that trading files is profit? Also, there are plenty of folks that go through $2k of electronic media in a year, pirating all of that as xkcd suggests would certainly meet the threshold.

I see “criminal” as being used in the cartoon in more of a lay context to describe someone who is generally out of compliance with the law. I’m not sure the fact that any resulting proceedings against him would probably be civil changes the message.