The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has begun to tighten the screws on hundreds of users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing systems in the US.
It has issued subpoenas to internet service providers (ISPs) in the US to force them to identify customers who are illegally sharing copyrighted music over networks like Kazaa.
The RIAA, the US music recording industry's leading trade body, announced in June that it would use scanning software to find P2P users. Additional information freely available on the sites is then used to identify the user's ISP.
Under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ISPs must provide copyright holders with such information when there is reason to believe copyrights are being infringed. The RIAA can then sue the individual.
"This should not come as a surprise to anyone," said a RIAA spokeswoman. "Filing information subpoenas is exactly what we said we'd do a couple of weeks ago when we announced that we were gathering evidence to file lawsuits."
The clampdown has already started to take effect. Loyola University in Chicago has handed over to RIAA lawyers the names of two students alleged to have downloaded music files from P2P sites.
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