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German record company is taking strong action against fans who they say illegally downloaded albums by Lacuna Coil and Iced Earth

Century Media, the rock and metal label which has a roster that features Architects, In Flames, Napalm Death, Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil, has revealed it is taking over 7,500 fans to court over claims of illegal downloading.

The label, which is based in Germany, has filed the charges in New Jersey in the US. It has accused 4,327 people of illegally downloading Iced Earth’s album ‘Dystopia’ and 3,136 users of illegally obtaining Lacuna Coil’s ‘Dark Adrenaline’.

All those accused are currently referred to as ‘John Doe’ in the court papers, but all their IP addresses are listed.

This means, if the court finds in Century Media’s favour, that their lawyers will instruct internet service providers to supply the personal information of each defendant.

Jay McDaniel, who representing Century and two other media firms, told NorthJersey.com of the label’s decision to prosecute: “What many people don’t understand is that it’s the distribution that’s the evil influence. It does the real damage and harm, not just to the client but to the culture industry, and to creative endeavours in general. Illegal downloading has reached epidemic proportions, as thousands of works are pirated on a daily basis through bit torrents that rob copyright holders of the value of their creative work.”

He continued: “This kills the little producer and it has an extremely destructive effect on the entertainment industry. Record sales don’t drive the music business any more – touring does. So illegal sharing of music on the Internet has killed an entire industry.”

If found guilty, all 7,500 file sharers could face a large fine or a payment of $2900 (£1,790) to avoid going to court.