The RIAA launches a wave of legal action…

More music downloaders in the US are facing copyright infringement cases – with universities across North America being targeted for action.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have announced action against 477 suspected illegal file-sharers, including 69 individuals using university networks to “illegally distribute copyrighted sound recordings on unauthorised peer-to-peer services”.

The university networks targeted are based in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

RIAA President Cary Sherman said “It remains as important as ever that we continue to work with the university community in a way that is respectful of the law as well as university values. That is one of our top priorities and we believe our constructive outreach has been enormously productive so far.

“Along with offering students legitimate music services, campus-wide educational and technological initiatives are playing a critical role. But there is also a complementary need for enforcement by copyright owners against the serious offenders – to remind people that this activity is illegal.”

The action is yet to be repeated in the UK, although the BPI are threatening court action against British music fans who access file-sharing networks.

A recent NME poll suggested the UK campaign is having a limited effect, with a massive 78% claiming the BPI’s efforts won’t make them change their downloading habits. Almost three-quarters say they will continue to use free services.