The RIAA's "business plan" is even worse than I'd guessed it was.
The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its "copyright infringement" claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000. [ps there were many other law firms feeding at the trough too; these were just the ones listed among the top 5 independent contractors.]
If the average settlement were $3,900, that would mean 100 settlements for the entire year.
As bad as it was, I guess it was better than the numbers for 2007, in which more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on "investigative operations" ... presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929.
And 2006 was similar: they spent more than $19,000,000 in legal fees and more than $3,600,000 in "investigative operations" expenses to recover $455,000.
So all in all, for a 3 year period, they spent around $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000.
victory for the hackers...fail for the industry...