The French music industry has filed its first legal procedures against individual peer-to-peer users.

PARIS -- The French music industry has filed its first legal procedures against individual peer-to-peer users.

Labels' collecting society the SCPP on July 28 filed 20 anonymous charges based on the Internet addresses of alleged music pirates. The filings are similar to the RIAA's "John Doe" process in the United States, implemented when the names of the accused are not known. To date, the RIAA has filed more than 3,000 suits against individual file sharers.

The French industry's actions follow the mid-May passage of the European directive on e-commerce. The industry had waited for the legislation to pass in order to have a legal backdrop for its lawsuit.

"What we are after is fines and community service-type condemnations," says SCPP director general Marc Guez. "We want this action to be dissuasive, not repressive."

SCPP's past actions against peer-to-peer services has mainly resulted in suspended prison sentences.

"Once people have been punished for using P2P, they'll go to iTunes and other services and acquire music legally. That's what happened in the U.S.," says Guez. He adds, "We won't wait for the results of these lawsuits before filing new ones."