Campus file swappers to pay RIAA

Four university students on Thursday agreed to pay thousands of dollars each to settle online music piracy charges, ending the record industry's most aggressive thrust yet against individual file swappers.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued four students separately last month for running services that searched computers connected to their college networks for MP3 song files. The students also also shared copyrighted music from own machines. The lawsuits marked the first time that the RIAA directly sued students, as opposed to companies, associated with peer-to-peer piracy.

The settlements will see each student making payments to the RIAA totaling between $12,000 and $17,000, split into annual installments between 2003 and 2006. The lawsuits as filed could have entailed damages (in theory) of up to $100 million.

The RIAA said that any future similar enforcement actions could lead to "stiffer settlement obligations."

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