The Recording Industry Association of America want damages of £150,000 per song...

Four US university students have received lawsuits after American recording industry officials took legal action to stop illegal file sharing of one million copyrighted songs.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asked for file sharing services to be disabled and also demanded damages of £150,000 per song.

The students – Daniel Peng, Joseph Nievelt, Jesse Jordan and Aaron Sherman – ran the file sharing services on Internal local area networks, with the songs only available to students and university staff.

However, RIAA President Cary Sherman said legal action against any illegal file sharing is essential for the future well-being of the music industry.

He said: “”These systems are best described as ‘local area’ Napsternetworks. The court ruled that Napster was illegal and shut it down. These systems are just as illegal and operate in the same manner. And just like Napster, they hurt artists, musicians, songwriters, those who invest in their work and the thousands of others who work to bring music to the public.”

The file-sharing systems were based at Princeton University, Michigan Technological University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Princeton University removed the file sharing services within 24 hours, but the other universities are still investigating the claims.

The RIAA are famous for their part in helping to close down the pioneering file-sharing service Napster in 2001.