The company that owns Kazaa, the online P2P file sharing network, has finally settled lawsuits brought against it around the world by agreeing to pay the music industry upwards of $100 million (£53 million).

The money will go to record labels including Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI, and Sony BMG, for income lost because users of Kazaa were downloading and sharing music illegally.

As part of the terms, the company also agreed "to use all reasonable means" to discourage piracy and making its software more "robust and secure".

The settlement did not specify that Kazaa has to shut down, so it looks as though the company will go forward trying to break in to the legal download market.

Record industry executives hailed the settlement and claimed it as yet another scalp on the illegal downloading front.

"While the award may seem like a vast pot of money, it will merely offset the millions we have invested – and will continue to invest – in fighting illegal pirate operations around the world and protecting the works that our artists create", said vice chairman for EMI Music, David Munns.

Chief executive of Sharman Networks, the company that owns Kazaa, Nikki Hemming, said that the settlement "marks the dawn of a new age of cooperation" between file-sharing services and the entertainment industry.