The RIAA disagrees, saying that the number of people actually stands closer to 18,000 in total. Where does the truth lie? According to Ars, somewhere right in the middle. The RIAA has admitted to filing over 30,000 individual lawsuits, but those are composed of both named and anonymous people, and not every case was settled. Regardless of which figure you decide to use, that gives a lowball amount of $50 million in settlements alone, perhaps as high as almost double that.
That's no small amount of change, and yet it's been common knowledge for a while that the RIAA does not actually generate any amount of cash in pursuing people in the court. With a monumental amount of lawsuits and each one a losing prospect, is the RIAA's “investment” in lawsuits paying off?