RIAA Settles First Infringement Suit
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Just a day after filing 261 civil lawsuits against alleged music pirates, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reached its first settlement Tuesday with a New York woman agreeing to pay $2,000 for the copyrighted songs distributed over Kazaa by her 12-year-old daughter.
The settlement was reached between the RIAA and Sylvia Torres, mother of Brianna Lahara, who had offered more than 1,000 copyrighted song tracks on the family's personal computer.
"Were trying to send a strong message that you are not anonymous when you participate in peer-to-peer file sharing and that the illegal distribution of copyrighted music has consequences," said Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman and CEO. "And as this case illustrates, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on their computers."
According to the RIAA, the lawsuits were filed only against "substantial" violators, which it defines as those who distributed, on average, 1,000 or more copyrighted works. Individuals accused of distributing copyrighted files on P2P Networks Kazaa, Grokster, Imesh, Gnutella, and Blubster were targeted in the initial round.
RIAA President Cary Sherman promised on Monday that the lawsuits were just the first in "subsequent waves of lititgation. Under U.S. law, damages for copyright violations range from $750-$150,000 per copyrighted work infringed.
In May, four college students agreed to pay damages ranging from $12,000 and $17,500 each in order to settle lawsuits brought by the recording industry against operators of what it called "Napster-like internal campus networks" that aid in the theft of copyrighted songs.
The actions were part of the RIAA's campaign to seek the cooperation of college administrators and system administrators to eliminate peer-to-peer file-sharing networks from campuses.