The Recording Industry Association Of America announced open season on illegal file-sharers on September 8, and of the 261 copyright-infringement lawsuits filed, 64 people have settled out of court. The first was the mother of 12-year-old Brianna LaHara, who settled for $2,000. The Associated Press quotes defense lawyers familiar with some of the cases as saying some of the other settlement amounts range from $2,500 to $7,500. At least one pirate reportedly paid as much as $10,000. Hundreds more lawsuits are expected to be filed in October.
"The music community's efforts have triggered a national conversation - especially between parents and kids - about what's legal and illegal when it comes to music on the Internet," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "In the end it will be decided not in the courtrooms, but at kitchen tables across the country."
It appears that the RIAA is making some headway in their battle against school children and soccer moms - oopsÖ I mean music pirates. MTV reports that traffic on the very popular file-sharing network Kazaa has fallen by 35% since the impending lawsuits were announced. However, the network continues to serve nearly four million users per week and about 64 million Americans continue to swap files.