When Beau Kilmer and I developed the “dynamic concentration” model of deterrent enforcement (described in this PNAS paper and, less technically, in When Brute Force Fails) we were thinking mostly about the criminal sanction. But l ogically the idea applies to any situation of many potential violators and a relative shortage of sanctions capacity compared to detection capacity: to regulatory enforcement, for example. MacRonin at Privacy Digest points out a potential private-sector application: to the RIAA’s copyright-enforcement problem.
It’s worth noting that if RIAA took this idea seriously, it ought to offer the file-sharers it targets very cheap settlements. Once a sanction is swift and certain, it needn’t be severe. $200 should be ample.