Terri Frye is a single mother living in state-supported housing in Hickory, NC. In November 2005, she received a letter from the RIAA naming her as a music thief. She got a lawyer and fought. Thousands of dollars in legal expenses later, the RIAA eventually settled for a $300 payment and no admission of wrongdoing:
The RIAA's prelitigation settlement letters say that defendants are liable for costs of $750 per song. MediaSentry flagged 706 songs on the computer that became the basis for the lawsuit, and at $750 per song, that works out to a total of $529,500. The RIAA settled for a minuscule fraction of that number, one curiously close to the 70¢-per-track figure a record industry attorney said is close to the labels' share of each track sold. File-sharing defendants have argued that the $750-per-track damages sought by the RIAA are excessive, and here we have them accepting a judgment for about 40¢ per track. The RIAA appears willing to extract even a minuscule settlement from a single mother on federal assistance who was willing to help them discover the true identity of the alleged infringer rather than walk away emptyhanded….
The end result is that the RIAA likely spent thousands of dollars to obtain a $300 judgment.
Via Ars Technica