Industry targets users of Grokster, LimeWire, Kazaa

WASHINGTON — Despite Monday’s Supreme Court decision allowing copyright holders to sue peer-to-peer services wholesale, the recording industry launched yet another round of litigation against individual downloaders Wednesday.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America announced 784 lawsuits filed in federal district courts across the country, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Suits specifically target people who are “illegally distributing copyrighted music on the Internet via unauthorized peer-to-peer services such as Kazaa, LimeWire and Grokster,” according to the RIAA statement.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that P2P services Grokster and StreamCast could be sued if they “actively induce” their users to illegally swap copyrighted material. Lower courts had blocked the entertainment industry’s attempt to sue.

Immediately following the high court ruling, industry officials and executives said the Grokster-StreamCast suit was just one piece of a multipronged attack on online piracy. The RIAA has been suing individual downloaders since 1999. Wednesday’s suits bring the total to 12,575.

The RIAA said it launched fresh suits “as part of its continued efforts to promote legal online services, educate fans about the right and wrong way to enjoy digital music and enforce its rights through the legal system.”

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