RIAA Sues 784 For File-Sharing, Gives Props To Supreme Court Ruling

Users of peer-to-peer services Kazaa, LimeWire and Grokster targeted.

Citing Monday's Supreme Court ruling as a "shot in the arm" in the fight against illegal file-sharing, the Recording Industry Association of America announced another round of lawsuits on Wednesday, this one naming 784 users of peer-to-peer networks.

According to the RIAA, the copyright-infringement suits filed in district courts from California to New York targeted users sharing files on P2P services including Kazaa, LimeWire and Grokster.

"On Monday, the Supreme Court provided a real shot in the arm to legitimate online music services and unanimously injected moral clarity into this debate," said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman of the RIAA in a statement, referring to the court's ruling on Monday that cleared the way for P2P companies such as Grokster to be sued if their users engage in illegal trading of copywritten material (see "File-Sharing Networks Can Be Liable For Copyright Infringements, Supreme Court Rules").

"If there was any doubt left, there should now be none — individuals who download music without permission are breaking the law. Our efforts to defend the rights of record labels, musicians, songwriters and others in the music community from theft will certainly continue and likely be strengthened in the weeks and months ahead."

Bainwol also gave props to the launch of a pair of new educational initiatives from Music United, a music-industry coalition formed to help parents understand how to keep their children safe when downloading music. Among the new programs is a worldwide campaign led by Childnet International to distribute a pamphlet for parents entitled, "Young People, Music and the Internet — a guide for parents about P2P, file-sharing and downloading." The pamphlet is available at musicunited.org and will be distributed in 18 countries by Childnet, an international non-profit aimed at making the Internet safer for children.

"At a time when national attention is drawn to the issue of music theft, more than ever before, we as an industry have a unique opportunity to educate our fans and the public at large of the consequences of illegal downloading," said Rick Carnes, President of the Songwriters Guild of America and Chairman of the Coalition's Communication Subcommittee in a statement. "As a coalition we are delighted to take this message 'to the street' nationwide and to dinner-table conversations between parents and their kids across the globe."

Along with the pamphlet, Music United has launched an outdoor ad campaign in

11 major cities with the tagline "Feed a Musician, Download Legally."

For complete digital music coverage, check out the Digital Music Reports.