I read this news yesterday.

A US student ordered to pay $675,000 (£404,000) for sharing music online has refused help paying the fine.
Mr Tenenbaum was ordered to pay the money to four record labels. On Friday, the jury ordered Mr Tenebaum to pay $22,500 for each infringement. The maximum that he could have been fined was $4.5m.

Mr Tenenbaum used a computer at his parents’ home and at his college to download and distribute digital files. Under US law, the recording companies are entitled to $750 to $30,000 per infringement.

However, the jury can raise the amount to $150,000 per track if it finds the infringements were wilful.In the Minnesota case, the jury awarded $80,000 per song.On the stand, Mr Tenenbaum admitted that he had downloaded more than 800 songs since 1999.”I used the computer. I uploaded, I downloaded music,” he told the court under questioning from his own lawyer, Charles Nesson.He said he had used Napster and then Kazaa to download the files.

“It was like this giant library in front of you,” he said.The recording industry has recently changed its tactics in file-sharing cases, preferring to settle quickly for much smaller amounts.

I guess we all have to make these choices whether we like it or not. I tend to stay away from illegal downloads of any kind. In the long run it does not pay. In one way or other you are kind of stealing. I just use iTunes.
It is easy convenient and not very expensive. So yeah if you want to avoid all those hassles caused by illegal downloading try iTunes

Here in New Zealand the Government is thinking of passing a law to ban people who dowload/upload files illegally using , Kazaa soul seek and the like . Even businesses can get banned. They are reworking the law as the first draft was too harsh and there were too many protests.