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Record industry uploads 8,000 lawsuits

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A recording industry lobby group has launched 8,000 new cases alleging illegal file sharing all over the world but none of them is British because the UK lobby group is focusing on its negotiations with internet service providers.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has begun the thousands of new cases in locations as far apart as Argentina, Iceland and Singapore. Action is being taken for the first time in Brazil, Mexico and Poland.

"Today sees the escalation of [our] campaign to show that file-sharing copyrighted music does carry real legal risks," said John Kennedy, chief executive of the IFPI.

Meanwhile UK body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is concentrating on its existing case load, according to spokesman Matt Phillips. "We are focusing on our existing actions," he said.

The BPI recently turned its attentions from users to ISPs.The lobby group wrote to Cable & Wireless and Tiscali in July asking that the internet access accounts of 59 users be suspended because it claimed to have evidence that the accounts were being used for illegal file sharing.

While C&W said that it would "take whatever steps are necessary to put the matter right", Tiscali said that the BPI had not provided "proper evidence" that offences had taken place and insisted that the BPI obtain a court order if they wanted details of the identities of the people involved.

Phillips said that negotiations with the ISPs are ongoing.

While the IFPI launches thousands more actions across the world the US record industry body, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)has dropped yet another file sharing case after the accused challenged its evidence.

Paul Wilke applied for summary judgment in the suit brought against him, claiming that he had not illegally downloaded or made available any of the songs listed, that only some of the songs he was alleged to have illegally on his computer were copies from legally purchased CDs. The rest had never been on his computer and he had never used file sharing software, he said.

The record labels involved in the suit agreed to a dismissal of the case. It is not the first time that recording industry groups have dropped suits when the evidence behind them has been questioned.

Earlier this year US resident Tammie Marson made labels back down from their case against her because she said that evidence that illegal copies of songs appeared on her computer was not evidence that she had downloaded or shared them. No file sharing case in the US has gone to a full trial.

Phillips said that nine UK cases had gone to court, though none went to a full trial. Seven were subject to default judgments and two to summary judgments all in the BPI's favour, he said. Some cases had involved the internet account holder being sued because of the actions of a third party, but in the UK it has been parents who have settled on behalf of their children, he said.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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