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RIAA Files 532 More Piracy Lawsuits

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Wednesday, January 21, 2004 @ 10:28 AM


RIAA Files 532 "John Doe" Copy

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Reported by Reuters:

Music Industry Files 532 New Piracy Lawsuits

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. music industry on Wednesday filed 532 lawsuits against individuals it accuses of illegally downloading copyrighted material online without paying, identifying defendants only by Internet addresses after a court ruling made it more difficult to subpoena their names.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has been fighting the digital piracy it blames for a three-year decline in CD sales, said it filed the suits against unnamed "John Doe" defendants and plans to use their numerical Internet addresses to subpoena their owners' identities.

"Our campaign against illegal file sharers is not missing a beat," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement.

The association has been unable to sue suspected online pirates by name since mid-December, when a federal appeals court ruled that Internet service providers did not have to respond to subpoenas requesting the names.

As in previous suits, the association said it would offer defendants the opportunity to settle.

Since September, the association has filed about 400 lawsuits against music downloaders, claiming "egregious" copyright infringement and seeking up to $150,000 per violation.

About half of the people hit with such lawsuits have settled out of court, usually for $5,000 or less, while others have mounted fierce legal challenges.

A recent study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found the number of people who downloaded music from the Internet fell by around half by late 2003 from the early part of the year.

The RIAA represents the major music labels, among them the music arms of Vivendi Universal, Sony Corp., Time Warner Inc., Bertelsmann AG and EMI Group Plc.


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