File sharing generates 8000 new lawsuits

A recording industry trade group has filed 8000 new lawsuits for alleged illegal file sharing in 17 countries, bringing the global total to about 31,000 cases.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) filed this new round of suits. Most of the legal actions were filed against those suspected of uploading large numbers of music files to peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent, eDonkey and Limewire. Pursuing “mass uploaders” can be more effective than suing people who download a few individual tracks.

Alex Jacob, IFPI spokesman, told IDG News Service that many of the people sued were the parents of children suspected of illegal file sharing, an action that can be taken in some countries where there’s a single interconnect serving a home.

Jacob said the legal actions — a mix of civil and criminal suits — included the first cases brought by the IFPI in Brazil, Mexico and Poland. The trade group said that in Brazil alone, more than a billion songs were illegally downloaded last year. This caused music company revenues in that country to drop by half throughout the past five years, the group claims.

IFPI filed the new lawsuits in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore.