Illegal downloaders targeted in new crackdown

Up to 8,000 lawsuits launched worldwide

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has filed lawsuits against 8,000 illegal file sharers across the globe today (October 18).

Up to 17 countries are being targeted in this latest campaign, including the first ever cases against illegal file-sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and in Eastern Europe.

According to the IFPI, over 2,300 of people have already been prosecuted for illegally file-sharing copyrighted material, with average legal settlements clocking in at around £1,600.

The organisation claims that many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file-sharing, with one case in Argentina resulting in a mother making her son sell off his car to pay her back the settlement fee.

The industry's latest campaign is targeting uploaders using all the major unauthorised peer-to-peer services, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX.

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of IFPI, said: "Consumers today can get music legally in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, with over three million tracks available on nearly 400 sites worldwide, as well as an array of mobile platforms. Yet some people continue to consume their music illegally, refusing to respect the creative work of artists, songwriters and record producers.

"As a result we reluctantly continue with our legal action. Today sees the latest escalation of that campaign to show that file-sharing copyrighted music does carry real legal risks - apart from the risks to privacy and the risks from spyware and viruses."

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