The RIAA today (Feb. 17) filed 531 "John Doe" lawsuits against suspected users of illicit peer-to-peer file-sharing services.

The RIAA today (Feb. 17) filed 531 "John Doe" lawsuits against suspected users of illicit peer-to-peer file-sharing services.

The suits were bundled in five lawsuits and filed in federal courts in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Trenton, N.J., and Orlando, Fla.

In January, the RIAA filed 532 such suits after an appeals court ruled the trade group could not employ so-called information subpoenas to get the names and addresses of suspected infringers from their Internet service providers.

A John Doe suit must be filed with a judge, who then determines whether a subpoena should be issued. Once a John Doe suit has been approved by a judge, the record-label plaintiffs can subpoena the information necessary to identify the defendant by name. Internet service providers can also ask a judge to review the information provided.

Including today's suits, the RIAA has to date filed 1,445 lawsuits in its campaign against individuals suspected of illegally trading music files over the Internet.

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