The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) yesterday (May 1) announced that it has reached out-of-court settlements with four students who operated peer-to-peer networks at three U.S. colleg

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) yesterday (May 1) announced that it has reached out-of-court settlements with four students who operated peer-to-peer networks at three U.S. colleges, Billboard Bulletin reports. The settlements range from $12,000-$17,500 apiece; reportedly, the students will pay in installments over several years.

Matt Oppenheim, RIAA senior VP of business and legal affairs, tells Bulletin, "Given that these were the first lawsuits of this kind, and that these individuals had limited means, we believe that the settlement amounts are appropriate. We would anticipate, though, that any future similar enforcement actions may require stiffer settlement obligations."

In the lawsuits, filed April 3, the RIAA alleged that the students had engaged in wholesale copyright infringement. Named in the suits were two students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one at Princeton, and one at Michigan Technological University.

Under law, the maximum penalty per infringement is $150,000; the minimum is $750 per infringement. Each of the sites had hundreds of tracks available, which could have amounted to a minimum fine of $100,000-$200,000 per defendant if the RIAA had won the cases in court.

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