The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is to take legal action against 247 file-sharers located across Europe and Canada.
In Denmark, 120 people are being sent "civil demand" letters by the IFPI asking them either to stop illegal file sharing and pay compensation, or face legal action.
And 68 individuals in Germany have been reported to law enforcement authorities "pursuant to criminal complaints" for alleged peer-to-peer infringement. Some 30 individuals in Italy and 29 in Canada face similar action.
These actions target people making available a large number of files on a range of file-sharing systems, including Kazaa, DirectConnect, WinMX, eMule and iMesh.
Reacting to the move, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reiterated a warning it gave last week that those in the UK who illegally upload music to peer-to-peer networks will face court action if they continue.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said in a statement: "We will be closely monitoring the impact of litigation in other territories."
Jay Berman, chairman and chief executive of the IFPI, added: "This is the start of an international campaign against online copyright theft.
"It is the logical next step in the fight against piracy, coming after our extensive education and warning campaigns of the past few months."
Berman explained that it was not a move that the IFPI took lightly. "We have learned that education alone is not sufficient, and that some people persist because, like shop lifters, they think they can get away with it," he said.
A recent independent five-country survey commissioned by the IFPI suggested that more than 65 per cent of people know that file-sharing copyrighted music is illegal.
Global sales of recorded music fell seven per cent in value in 2002. The IFPI's global figures for 2003 have not yet been released, but it estimated that sales for the year will be down by over seven per cent.
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