RealTime IT News

Merry Christmas From The RIAA

The music industry dropped 751 copyright-infringement lawsuits in the mail today, bringing the total number of legal actions this year against alleged peer-to-peer (P2P) infringers to more than 7,000.

The John Doe lawsuits filed Thursday cite individuals for illegally distributing copyrighted music on the Internet through P2P services, such as LimeWire and Kazaa. In addition to the John Doe suits, the major music labels also filed lawsuits against 105 named defendants.

"At stake is the music industry's ability to invest in the next generation of music and a chance for legal online music services to flourish," Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said in a statement.

The latest batch of RIAA lawsuits comes a day after market research firm NPD Group issued numbers claiming illegal downloads have fallen 11 percent since the Supreme Court ruled in June that Grokster and other P2P companies were operating illegal businesses.

Those numbers, however, were disputed by Eric Garland, CEO of media measurement firm BigChampagne.

"In fact, in every month since Grokster, P2P activity is actually higher than it was in May/June, or at any other point," he said in an e-mail to internetnews.com.

Whether the amount of illegal P2P downloading is up or down, the RIAA pledged to continue its lawsuits.

"We must do everything to protect the integrity of the marketplace. That means educating fans about steering clear of pirated products and continuing to enforce our rights to send a clear message that stealing music will bring consequences," Sherman said.

The John Doe lawsuits included students at Drexel University, Harvard and the University of Southern California.