The trade group sent letters to 22 schools yesterday offering to settle with the students or personnel the group says downloaded music illegally. While some users have already been sued, these letters let students avoid a lawsuit by paying a settlement fee in advance. Fees so far have been steep; at the University of Michigan settlements have averaged between $4,000 and $4,500, the Michigan Daily reports.
Yesterday's was the third batch of offers in a push that began in late February, with the aim of educating students about what is legal and what isn't--and curbing the illegal behavior. Said Steven Marks, RIAA's executive vice president: "The question we ask of students is this: With high-quality legal music options available for free or deeply discounted, why take the twin risks of exposing your computer to viruses or spyware by downloading from an illegal site or exposing yourself to a costly lawsuit?"