204 letters have been sent to individuals allegedly distributing copyrighted music through peer-to-peer networks...

File-sharers are once more being targeted by the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RIAA), who last week sent 204 letters to individuals allegedly distributing copyrighted music through peer-to-peer networks.

Those who received letters are believed to distributed an average of 1,000 copyrighted music files each. The move is the latest by RIAA to crack down on file-sharing.

However, the targeted individuals are offered a chance to avoid legal action by resolving the claims made in the letters. Those who do not respond within ten days will be sued for copyright infringement.

RIAA president Cary Sherman told Billboard: “We take the concerns expressed by policymakers and others very seriously. In light of the comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out short of legal action.”

As previously reported on NME.COM, the American Music Industry’s previous clampdown on small time illegal file sharers yielded its first results last month with over 60 people settling lawsuits against them out of court.

It is unclear how much the targets of the suits paid, though the Associated Press reports that sums ranged from $2,500 to $7,500 with at least one going for $10,000.

The RIAA filed 261 copyright-infringement lawsuits on September 8. Less than 24 hours later, one of the first targets – the mother of 12-year-old Brianna LaHara – settled for $2,000. So far, 64 people have reached agreements.

Following the announcement of the RIAA’s action, traffic on the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing network Kazaa fell by 35 per cent.

To date, no similar legislation has been introduced in Britain.