The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in conjunction with the major labels, has filed suit against four Internet Service Providers (ISPs), aiming to shut down the music download Web si

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in conjunction with the major labels, has filed suit against four Internet Service Providers (ISPs), aiming to shut down the music download Web site Listen4ever.com, Billboard Bulletin reports. The suit, filed Friday in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, lists as defendants AT&T Broadband Corp., Cable & Wireless USA, Sprint Corp., and UUNET Technologies.

The suit marks the first time the RIAA has taken legal action against ISPs, rather than individual Web sites or end users. The services are being targeted because their "backbone routers" allow U.S. users access to Listen4ever, which is operated from offshore servers in China and allows users to download free sound files, including entire albums.

"The rationale is that this site was seen as particularly egregious, and it could have taken months or years to win any relief in China, so we felt it was an appropriate time to ask the ISPs to help," says an RIAA spokesperson.

The suit cites a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allows copyright holders to seek injunctive relief in cases where an infringer has moved offshore but continues to enable copyright infringement within the U.S. The RIAA is seeking an injunction requiring the ISPs to block users from accessing the Web site. According to the suit, artists whose music is being illegally distributed through the site include Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz, and Whitney Houston.

Representatives of Sprint Corp. and AT&T Broadband Corp. would not comment; the other defendants could not be reached at deadline.