Record Industry Sues 963 in EU, Asia

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the global recording industry, has filed suit against 963 individuals across Europe and Asia for illegally sharing copyrighted music on peer-to-peer networks.

The lawsuits will be the first time such legal action has been taken to combat P2P piracy in Japan, the Netherlands, Iceland, Finland and Ireland. The IFPI has previously launched hundreds of similar attacks on file swappers in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

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"Today, people across Europe can be in no doubt that uploading copyrighted music on to file-sharing networks is against the law, affects jobs, investment in music and livelihoods, and carries the risk of financial penalties," said John Kennedy, Chairman of the IFPI.

"We have spent two years raising public awareness of this, and ignorance really is no longer an excuse."

The group said its lawsuits have already brought moderate success. The number of music illicitly downloaded in Germany dropped 35 percent in 2004, and Kazaa has seen its user base drop from 4.5 million to 2.3 million as file swappers move to more underground locales.

The IFPI says thus far, 248 individuals have paid on average more than 3,000 euros to settle its criminal and civil suits.

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