RIAA files 761 new file-trading lawsuits

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed new lawsuits against 761 people who allegedly use peer-to-peer (P-to-P) software to trade music files without permission, the trade group announced Thursday.

The lawsuits included users of the eDonkey, Limewire and Kazaa services, as well as 25 people using university Internet connections to distribute music files. American University in Washington, D.C., Boston College, Iowa State University and the University of Massachusetts were among the college networks used by those sued.

The RIAA believes that partnerships between universities and pay-for-music download services have in part come about because of the trade group's legal strategy, RIAA president Cary Sherman said in a statement. At least 20 U.S. universities signed agreements with pay-for-music services as of August, and more signed agreements since then, according to the RIAA.

"The lawsuits are an essential educational tool," Sherman said in a statement. "They remind music fans about the law and provide incentives to university administrators to offer legal alternatives."

Since September 2003, the RIAA has filed more than 7,000 lawsuits, including more than 2,200 lawsuits announced since Oct. 1, against alleged file traders.

The new RIAA lawsuits come on the heels of another group of lawsuits announced this week by the Motion Picture Association of America Inc. (MPAA). The undisclosed number of MPAA lawsuits were aimed at P-to-P users who allegedly distributed movies without permission.

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