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Coverage of the RIAA has been ongoing for many years since as they’ve taken people to court over copyright infringement. Though we have seen dozens of cases, and hundreds of interviews, it's never been well known exactly how many times the RIAA has tried to sue someone into submission. Recently, that question was asked, and some startling figures were discovered – upwards of 35,000 people with most of them taking part in the average $3,000 to $5,000 settlement.
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?