2,000 uploaders face action in 10 markets.

The international recorded music industry has launched a new round of legal proceedings targeted at prolific file-sharing "uploaders."

Nearly 2,000 new cases have been launched on Tuesday (April 4) against file-sharers across Europe as the industry attempts to rein-back on illegal peer-to-peer activities. The new legal actions -- brought by the IFPI and its member bodies -- cover 10 countries, including Portugal for the first time.

Since the IFPI resorted to litigation in March 2004, 5,500 suits have been brought in 18 countries, the trade body says. Including the United States, about 23,500 lawsuits have been launched to date.

"This is a significant escalation in our worldwide campaign against illegal file- sharing," comments John Kennedy, IFPI chairman and CEO in a statement. "This campaign started in major music markets where sales were falling sharply; now these legal actions have spread to smaller markets in countries like Portugal where it is not an exaggeration to say the future of the whole national market, and local artists, is at stake."

Among the Europeans hit with the latest actions are a Finnish carpenter, a British postman, a Czech IT manager, a German judge, a French chef, a British local councillor and a retired German couple.

A large number of cases involve men aged 20-35 and parents of who have illegally shared music files on P2P networks.

Since launching lawsuits against file-sharers in Europe, the IFPI says hundreds of individuals have paid fines or compensation. The average settlement is €2,633 ($3,192).

Digital music sales in 2005 tripled in value to more than $1 billion, the IFPI reported last Friday (March 31). Revenues from the nascent format, however, were not enough to halt an overall 3% decline in the value of the recorded music market.