After months of testimony and legal wrangling, Rupert Murdoch's News International decided on Thursday to go ahead and settle 36 high-profile phone-hacking cases at once, getting the attendant publicity out of the way in one swoop. And there's reason to pay attention: The victims here include some pretty well-known names, and most took pretty low payments. In addition to athletes, government ministers and friends of the famous, News International paid out about $62,000 to former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, and about $200,000 to Jude Law, who says his phone was hacked while he was in the United States. That's pretty paltry compared to the $3.2 million News International had to pay to the family of murder victim Milly Dowler. Most of Thursday's payments came in well below $100,000. And with the settlements Murdoch has, in one day, put to rest the majority of the 60 phone-hacking lawsuits against News International. As we pointed out a couple weeks ago, with News Corporation (and News International) poised to make billions on new Simpsons syndication deals alone, the payments represent small change to the company indeed.