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Charter Communications, the US cableco, is challenging the RIAA's attempt to hand over the names of 150 customers who allegedly swapped music files illegally over the net.

The company filed suit on Friday in its home town of St Louis, Missouri seeking to block subpoenas obtained by the RIAA.

Tom Hearity, associate general counsel for Charter, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "We are the only major cable company that has not as yet provided the RIAA a single datum of information," AP reports.

In September, the RIAA filed suit against 261 American file traders, armed with information obtained from their ISPs. Among the haul included a 12 year-old girl and a 66 year-old female pensioner. The latter's case was quickly dropped by the RIAA, when it realised that the woman was entirely innocent.

The recording industry blames unauthorised downloading and CD bootlegging for an 11 per cent fall in music sales in the first half of 2003. ®

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