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.