In February 2010, Whitney Harper, a college student, was ordered by a federal appeals court to pay the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) $27,750. This is $750 a track for illegally sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader.
Joel Tenenbaum's illegal filesharing troubles started while he was a college student, but didn't end when he graduated in 2006. After many court appearances and several verdicts, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Mr. Tenebaum's appeal, and in June 2013, after exhausting all other court appeals, the original judgement in the long-running file-sharing case between Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Boston student Joel Tenenbaum was upheld. The original damages awarded were $675,000 for sharing 30 songs ($2,250 for each song). Details at:
Supreme Court declines to hear Joel Tenenbaum appeal Wikipedia - Joel Tenenbaum
Then decide if you can afford the "free" music and movies you get by file sharing.
Wired magazine has an entire category devoted to illegal copyright litigation you might want to look at before you turn on your P2P software. Check it out at: File sharing litigation stories at Wired magazine