The RIAA isn't exactly known for having winning legal tactics, but its lengthy crusade against pirates was a bit more than
"unsuccessful" as far as the numbers are concerned. Based on tax documents discovered by Jon Newton of p2pnet.net, the group spent over $17 million on lawyers in 2008 to recover $391,000 in settlements – and losses were even worse in previous years.
During 2007, the RIAA shelled out $21 million for legal expenses to recoup $515,929, and year prior was just as bad, with $19 million returning $455,000. The organization's pursuit of infringers between the years of 2006 and 2008 ultimately cost $58,258,394 in legal fees, all to scrape in $1,362,572. And that doesn't include the millions spent on "investigative operations."
Granted, it's not all about settlements. The RIAA undoubtedly landed some non-monetary legal victories in the form of site closures, injunctions and more, but a 98% loss on investment surely hurts and it's probably why the industry ceased its legal efforts
. Talking with TorrentFreak
, an RIAA exec justified the expenses by saying that the group's campaign deterred many would-be pirates.