FILE SHARERS SETTLE OUT OF COURT

The American music industry draws blood in battle against small-time pirates...

The AMERICAN MUSIC INDUSTRY’s clampdown on small time ILLEGAL FILE SHARERS has yielded its first results with over 60 people settling lawsuits against them out of court.

It is unclear how much the targets of the suits paid, though the Associated Press reports that sums ranged from $2,500 to $7,500 with at least one going for $10,000.

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) filed 261 copyright-infringement lawsuits on September 8. Less than 24 hours later, one of the first targets – the mother of 12-year-old Brianna LaHara – settled for $2,000. So far, 64 people have reached agreements.

Hundreds more suits are expected to be filed in the coming weeks, MTV reports.

In addition, 838 file swappers have signed up to the Clean Slate programme that allows them to escape censure if they promise not to share illegal files online again.

“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.”

Following the announcement of the RIAA’s action, traffic on the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing network Kazaa fell by 35 per cent.

To date, no similar legislation has been introduced in Britain.