The Recording Industry Association of America stepped up the pace of its lawsuits against music swappers again, with a renewed focus on university students.
The trade association said Tuesday that it sued an additional 532 anonymous individuals, including 89 people at 21 separate universities. This is the third round of suits since the RIAA was forced by the courts to file suits without first using subpoenas to learn the alleged file swappers' true identities. "It's important for everyone to understand that no one is immune from the consequences of illegally 'sharing' music files on (peer to peer) networks," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement. "Lawsuits are an important part of the larger strategy to educate file sharers about the law, protect the rights of copyright owners, and encourage music fans to turn to these legitimate services."
Nearly seven months into the RIAA's legal drive against individual file swappers, the overall effect remains mixed. Research and monitoring companies reported a steep initial drop in the number of people using file-sharing tools in the United States. But those figures leveled out by the end of last year. Popularity of the tools, meanwhile, remains strong. Kazaa, the most widely used file-sharing program, was downloaded more than 1.9 million times last week alone, according to Download.com, a software aggregation site owned by News.com publisher CNET Networks.
News source: C|Net News.com