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RIAA Files More Copyright Infringement Suits

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed 80 more copyright infringement suits lawsuits Thursday against alleged music file-swappers using peer-to-peer networks (P2P). Earlier this month, the RIAA sent notification letters to 204 people that they were about to be sued by the RIAA for "egregious" infringement, which the music trade group defines as distributing 1,000 or more "copyrighted music files for millions of strangers on the Internet to copy for free."

The 124 who were not actually sued have approached the RIAA in hopes of resolving the claims without filing a suit.

In September, the RIAA 261 filed civil copyright infringement suits without any prior notice to the defendants, prompting criticism from many members of Congress.

"We are pleased that our efforts to extend illegal file sharers an additional chance to come clean and work out settlements are proving successful," RIAA President cary Sherman said in a statement. "The fact that the overwhelming majority of those who received the notification letter contacted us and were eager to resolve the claims is another clear signal that the music community's education and enforcement campaign is getting the message out."

As of Thursday, the RIAA said it had resolved 156 of the now 341 lawsuits. The amount of the settlements were not disclosed by the RIAA, but an earlier settlement with the parents of a 12-year-old accused of illegally downloading music files was $2,000.

One suit against a 66-year-old Boston grandmother, accused of downloading more than 2,000 songs, was dropped when it was disclosed her only computer is a Macintosh, which is incapable of running the P2P network software she was accused of using to pilfer such songs as rapper Trick Daddy's "I'm a Thug."

Another suit is being contested on the constitutionality of DMCA subpoenas. The attorney for a New York woman known only by her online name of "NYCfashiongirl," claims the RIAA violated state and federal laws in securing her online name and IP address through its search P2P networks looking for possible music pirates.

Additionally, the RIAA said, more than a thousand people have filed "Clean Slate" affidavits, an RIAA amnesty program for P2P network users who voluntarily identify themselves and pledge to stop illegally sharing music on the Internet. The program has been attacked as misleading and in California, a lawsuit has been filed claiming the program is a deceptive trade practice.

"Awareness that file sharing is illegal and interest in legitimate online music services are both up, while traffic on the pirate p2p services is down," Sherman said. "Record companies are giving fans what they want -- exciting, flexible online services and a retail marketplace that offers great new music and great value -- and fans are responding."



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