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The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has lobbed a fresh round of lawsuits at music fans. The music label mob announced today that it has sued another 896 file-swappers - an apparent retaliation against an appeals court ruling confirming P2P networks as legal.

The latest lawsuits were aimed at 744 fresh P2P users and 152 users who had already been sued and then declined to settle their cases with the RIAA out of court. The pigopolists have now managed to sue close to 4,000 people for trading music online. The RIAA has yet to provide conclusive evidence that file-trading has played any direct role in declining music sales, and a Harvard/North Carolina study found that file-trading likely has no effect at all on music revenue.

"We are adjusting and expanding our efforts to target illegal file sharing on additional platforms like eDonkey and others," said RIAA President Cary Sherman. "There will always be a degree of piracy, both on the street and online. But without a strong measure of deterrence, piracy will overwhelm and choke the creation and distribution of music."

Sherman's opinion is almost the exact opposite of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which last week denied the RIAA's bid to shutdown decentralized P2P networks. The court warned the RIAA and others that pursuing litigation against P2P and similar technology could harm innovation.

"The introduction of new technology is always disruptive to old markets, and particularly to those copyright owners whose works are sold through well-established distribution mechanisms," the court said. "Yet, history has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine, or an MP3 player."

The RIAA has proved unwilling to consider that its actions are actually cutting off a new market and alienating already disgruntled consumers. P2P backers have urged the music labels to cease litigation and work to create new distribution channels for music. ®

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