717 defendants include students.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America today (27) sued 717 illegal file sharers for copyright infringement through illegal downloading on the Internet.

The number of university network users targeted in the new suits is nearly three times the number sued in recent rounds, signaling a continuing effort to step up anti-piracy enforcement on college campuses. Among those sued today in the "John Doe" lawsuits are 68 users of computer networks at 23 schools, including Georgetown University, the University of Massachusetts (Lowell), Harvard University Medical School and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The suits cite the individuals for illegally distributing copyrighted music on the Internet via unauthorized peer-to-peer services such as KaZaA, eDonkey and Limewire.