IFPI Sues 8,000 P2P File Swappers

The International Federation for the Phonograph Industry has issued a new round of lawsuits against peer-to-peer file sharers across the globe, suing 8,000 individuals in 17 countries. This includes the first cases filed in Brazil, Mexico and Poland.

According to the IFPI, over 1 billion songs were illegally downloaded in Brazil last year, and music sales have dropped in half since 2000, when P2P file trading began to take off. A combination of criminal and civil lawsuits are aimed at those "uploaders" who make available hundreds or thousands of songs for sharing.

File sharing networks targeted include BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX, the IFPI said. Countries involved in the latest wave of lawsuits are Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and Switzerland.

The IFPI, which works with the RIAA in the United States, has filed over 13,000 legal actions outside of the U.S. that have brought in average legal settlements of 2,420 euros.

"Around the world many people have already paid a heavy price for their illegal file-sharing. They all thought they were unlikely to be caught, but teachers, postal workers, IT managers, scientists and people in a host of other occupations, as well as parents, have ended up having to dig deeply into their pockets," remarked IFPI chairman John Kennedy.

The group says it is making progress in its war on P2P networks, adding that fear of spyware and viruses has proved a major deterrent. Education has also helped inform children about the risks involved, and the IFPI claims that 67 percent of people feel lawsuits have helped reduce illicit file sharing.

"In each of the 17 countries involved in today's actions there are legal music services available to consumers. There is no excuse. People should understand that they can be caught whatever network they are using. The next time a series of law suits are announced you could be on the receiving end if you are an illegal file-sharer," Kennedy added.

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