RIAA files 762 new file-trading lawsuits

Defendants include people who allegedly used university networks

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed 762 new lawsuits against alleged file-traders using P-to-P (peer-to-peer) services, with the total number of lawsuits filed since September 2003 now reaching more than 5,500.

The 762 lawsuits announced Thursday included 32 people at 26 U.S. universities who allegedly used their university networks to distribute music files on P-to-P networks.

The new lawsuits, which follow 744 lawsuits filed in late August, are filed against unnamed defendants. In December 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the RIAA does not have the authority under U.S. law to subpoena the names of alleged P-to-P file traders from ISPs (Internet service providers).

In addition to the so-called "John Doe" lawsuits announced Thursday, the RIAA last week brought lawsuits against 68 named defendants. Those defendants are people whom the RIAA sued but who declined or ignored an RIAA offer to settle their cases.

The lawsuits against university network users are intended to drive home the message to students that unauthorized downloading has consequences, RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement. "We want music fans to enjoy music online, but in a fashion that compensates everyone who worked to create that music," he said.

Among the universities involved in the latest round of lawsuits are Colgate University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Kent State University, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of Connecticut, and University of Louisville.

The RIAA has now filed 5,541 lawsuits against alleged music-file uploaders since September 2003.