Those fans suspected of swapping music for free on the Internet continue to be targeted...

The BPI claim to have sent out 175,000 instant messages to people in the UK they suspect of uploading music onto the Internet.

Earlier this year the BPI announced they were considering legal action against people who swap music online for free. One of the tactics is to send music fans instant messages to warn uploaders they are running the risk of legal action.

According to their own statistics, the BPI have sent out 175,000 messages.

A spokesperson for the BPI said: “We have sent 175,000 instant message warnings to UK uploaders. Nobody tempted to use these networks should claim ignorance of the law. Unauthorised filesharing is illegal.

“British music fans now have compelling legal alternatives to stealing. Sales of legal downloads this year hit 500,000 last week, and I expect 2004 to be a breakthrough year for legitimate music services.”

In the US and Europe industry bodies are taking a harder stance on downloaders, with many countries taking direct legal action.