RIAA Sues 493 More For File-Sharing — But More People Than Ever Are Doing It

Estimated number of file-sharers rose by more than 2 million in seven months.

File-sharers continue to fight the law — but despite its best efforts, the law hasn't won yet. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported Monday that it has sued another 493 individuals for swapping songs on peer-to-peer networks, but more people than ever are logged on to these networks to share and copy music and other files.

According to the market research and marketing consulting firm Big Champagne, up to 9.5 million Internet users were simultaneously using file-sharing networks in April, compared with the 7.4 million logged on in September 2003.

The RIAA has now sued a total of 2,947 individuals since last September in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to stop file-sharing, according to a Reuters report. Though the identities of most of the individuals being sued are unknown to the RIAA, the trade group said on Monday that it has sued 24 individuals by name via issued subpoenas, in what they call "John Doe" lawsuits.

In January, an appeals court ruled that several Internet service providers are not required to reveal the identity of their customers. In retaliation, the RIAA began pursuing these "John Doe" lawsuits to sue file-sharers by name. The RIAA told Reuters that those sued by name declined the group's offers to settle out of court. The RIAA has reportedly settled 486 of these cases for around $3,000 each.

"Our continuing objective is to send a message of deterrence, protect the rights of property owners, and foster an environment where the legitimate marketplace, both online and at retail, can flourish," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a recent statement.

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