493 new suits filed against illegal file swappers
WASHINGTON — The RIAA is keeping up its furious pace of issuing a spate of lawsuits each month so far this year.The latest round came Monday when the music industry trade org filed 493 new suits against individuals who illegally swap music online. As with all the suits this year, the RIAA filed them employing the “John Doe” litigation process, used to sue defendants whose names are not known. The music biz turned to this method after a court ruled that Internet service providers no longer must produce the names automatically without a judge deciding if the suits have legal merit. After obtaining the names, the RIAA then sends a letter to the individual offering to settle the case for a price. So far, 486 of the 2,947 individuals the RIAA has sued have settled for an average of $3,000 each. Monday’s legal action included suits against 24 people who were identified through the “John Doe” process and declined or ignored offers to settle. The 493 suits were filed in federal courts in 17 states, including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas.