If the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) names you in an illegal music downloading lawsuit, ignore it. At least, that would be better than going to court, according to a recent report by Ars Technica, a technology information Web site.

The report compared the damages awarded against two defendants–Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum, both of whom hired an attorney, showed up in court and defended themselves against the illegal-downloading allegations–with those who simply ignored the charges altogether.

After retrial, Thomas-Rasset faced damages totaling $1.92 million ($80,000 per illegal download) and Tenenbaum faces $675,000 in damages (or $22,500 per illegal download). Those who ignored the charges by not showing up for
court received a default judgment averaging $7,500 ($750 per illegal download).

However, your best bet would be to settle the suit with the RIAA–those settlements on average total between $3,000 and $5,000.