Major record labels yesterday (June 29) filed a further 784 copyright infringement lawsuits against "John Doe" file-sharers. At the same time, the Recording Industry Assn. of America continues its cou

Major record labels yesterday (June 29) filed a further 784 copyright infringement lawsuits against "John Doe" file-sharers. At the same time, the Recording Industry Assn. of America continues its courtroom educational efforts about "the right and wrong way to enjoy digital music," the trade group said.

In addition to requesting damages for infringement, the suits seek the identities of those users who are sharing unauthorized music files on peer-to-peer services such as Kazaa, LimeWire and Grokster in California, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, DC.

"On Monday, the Supreme Court provided a real shot in the arm to legitimate online music services and unanimously injected moral clarity into this debate," says Mitch Bainwol, RIAA CEO/chairman. "If there was any doubt left, there should now be none -- individuals who download music without permission are breaking the law. Our efforts to defend the rights of record labels, musicians, songwriters and others in the music community from theft will certainly continue and likely be strengthened in the weeks and months ahead."

In a related matter, the RIAA expressed its support of multiple educational efforts launched by Music United yesterday. The group, a coalition with members from virtually every component of the recording industry and music community, began an advertising campaign that highlights the harmful effects of illegal downloading on the music industry. The "Feed a Musician, Download Legally" ads will appear on outdoor poster space in 11 major cities, where they can be seen in areas such as metro stops and the sides of buildings undergoing renovations.

Music United also launched a worldwide campaign with Childnet International to help parents understand how to keep their children safe and legal when downloading music on the Internet. A new parental pamphlet, "Young People, Music and the Internet -- a guide for parents about P2P, file-sharing and downloading," will be distributed across the globe in the coming months and on Web sites including www.musicunited.org. Childnet International is leading the campaign, with various partners in 18 countries.

"Against a clear backdrop of what is right and what is wrong -- what is legal and what is illegal -- it is as important now as ever to encourage our fans do the right thing," says Cary Sherman, RIAA president. "Ideally, this is a message that will resonate broadly with millions of fans all across the country -- and one that parents will take up personally in conversations with their kids."

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