She faced fines of up to $150,000, but 12-year-old New York girl Brianna LaHara had her mother settle a copyright infringement lawsuit for $2000. Perhaps Mom should be working for the Catholic Church.

The announcement of the settlement came a day after the Manhattan schoolgirl was identified in the US media as a target of the Recording Industry Association of America’s first wave of lawsuits aimed at cracking down on internet piracy.

In a statement, the RIAA said it had reached a settlement with the schoolgirl’s mother, Sylvia Torres. In an apparent attempt not to turn Ms LaHara into a cause célèbre, the statement included an apology from her for downloading music from the peer-to-peer service Kazaa. “I am sorry for what I have done,” she said. “I love music and don’t want to hurt the artists I love.”

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and chief executive of the RIAA, said: “We’re trying to send a strong message that you are not anonymous when you participate in peer-to-peer file sharing and that the illegal distribution of copyrighted music has consequences. As this case illustrates, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on their computers.”

The defendant school girl had more than 1,000 copyrighted songs stored on her computer hard drive. By using the desktop file-sharing programme, the songs were available for other users to copy for free.

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