RIAA “Illegal” File-sharing Suits Now Total 4700

The number of Americans sued by the RIAA for illegal file-sharing is reaching the size of a small city.

Music industry trade orgs filed suits last week against 744 individuals who allegedly shared copyrighted music on peer-to-peer networks. New suits bring to nearly 4,700 the number filed by the RIAA since it began
taking on pirates in court last September. Of those, 836 individuals have so far reached settlements, typically for a fine of several thousand dollars.

Five hundred and ninety-two of the latest suits were against anonymous defendants in nine cities. Courts ruled earlier this year that Internet service providers can’t be compelled to reveal the names of users who engage in copyright infringement. The other 152 suits were against named individuals who were identified by other means and contacted but declined to sign a settlement offered by the RIAA.

Despite the nearly 5,000 suits, there has not yet been any indication that peer-to-peer file swapping is slowing. Legal alternatives such as iTunes have grown in popularity, however, and the RIAA cited polls it commissioned that showed 60% of Americans are “supportive and understanding” of suits against individual online copyright infringers.

The new suits come just a few days after the RIAA and MPAA lost an appeal of a lawsuit to hold companies that operate P2P networks liable for illegal file Trading.

Source: 2004 Punmaster’s MusicWire

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