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FILE-SWAPPERS: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
RIAA Warns 204 People That They're About to Get Sued
In this high-tech and often imperonal age of email, faxes and voicemails, it’s rare to get an actual letter, and that’s what’s heartwarming about the latest wrinkle in the RIAA’s campaign to sue individual users of file-sharing networks who illegally swap MP3s.

The RIAA started mailing warnings to 204 file-sharers last week, alerting them to the fact that they’re about to receive lawsuits in the mail. The letters give recipients 10 days to respond to the letter by contacting the trade group’s already overworked legal staff to discuss a settlement and avoid a full-blown suit.

Like the first 261 people sued, each of the latest batch of lucky winners is said by the RIAA to be sharing an average of more than 1,000 songs. Of those first 261, the RIAA has said it has settled with 64 people, with an average settlement of $3,000. A suit against a Mac-user, which can’t run Kazaa, was dropped. By sending letters to the users first, the RIAA may be able to avoid some of the negative publicity surrounding the first batch of suits, such as the front-page news about suing a 12-year-old girl, and appease Congressmen, such as Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who spoke out against the suits. A Coleman spokesman told the press that the letters were a step in the right direction and he wishes they had happened sooner. Sweet.

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