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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Music 'pirates' sent ultimatum
Downloading internet music
The recording industry is hitting back at copyright abuse
Four internet users at the centre of a legal dispute over copyright violations have been sent 'cease-and-desist' letters to stop them offering downloadable music for free.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents musicians, said on Wednesday the names of four subscribers had been handed over by telecommunications company Verizon after a ruling by a US appeal court.

Spokesman Jonathan Lamy of the RIAA , which represents the music industry, said a fifth person was due to be sent a letter.

The RIAA had previously said it had not yet decided how it would proceed against the four people, or if it would name them publicly.

The association had sought the names of the subscribers under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The act allows music companies to force internet providers to hand over names of people suspected of large-scale music 'piracy'.

On Tuesday, a US senator said he wanted to develop new technology which would remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music tracks.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican representing Utah, asked technology chiefs at a hearing in Washington about whether they could develop ways to damage or destroy the computers, though legal experts argued it would contravene anti-hacking laws.

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