RIAA files 717 new file-trading lawsuits

Association has sued more than 8,400 people since September 2003

WASHINGTON - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed 717 new lawsuits against peer to peer (P-to-P) users allegedly trading music for free, the trade group announced Thursday.

The lawsuits include 68 alleged song-swappers using 23 university networks to distribute music files, more than three times the number of university users sued when the RIAA announced 754 such lawsuits in mid-December. The RIAA said it is stepping up enforcement of copyright violations on college campuses.

Among the universities targeted in this latest round of RIAA lawsuits are Georgetown University, Harvard University Medical School, Old Dominion University, Ohio State University, the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Users of the Kazaa, eDonkey and Limeware P-to-P software were among the 717 people sued, according to the RIAA.

With the new round of lawsuits, the RIAA has now sued more than 8,400 alleged file-swappers since September 2003.

RIAA officials noted people who want to pay for music online, instead of using P-to-P software to exchange music for free, now have about 230 vendors to choose from. About one million songs are now available on "legitimate" pay-per-download sites, the RIAA said.

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