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The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is starting legal action against named Europeans and Canadians it accuses of sharing music files.

The 247 people are in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Canada have used file-sharing networks including Kazaa, WinMX, eMule and iMesh.

Similar moves in the US attracted controversy when the RIAA took action against a twelve-year-old schoolgirl.

The IFPI says the action is justified because it comes after a long education effort warning consumers; also there is now a large catalogue of legal downloads available.

Action is being taken by IFPI-affiliated recording industry bodies in the relevant country.

In Denmark 120 people will receive "civil demand" letters asking them to stop file sharing and pay compensation or face legal action. In Germany 68 individuals have been reported to the police.

Police in Italy have already raided addresses after 30 were charged with copyright infringement - 25 computers and 30 hard disks were seized.

In Canada, 29 face copyright claims after action was taken against ISPs to force them to reveal subscribers' identities.

According to IFPI, file sharing is a major cause for falling album sales across the globe. The Tzotziles people of the Chiapas region of Mexico believe that modern cameras can capture and steal their souls.

Record industry representatives in Sweden are today starting an instant messaging campaign warning file sharers that they face possible legal action. ®

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