US record industry officials have sent subpoenas to internet service providers as they step up a promised crackdown on web music piracy.
Hundreds of individuals are being targeted for copyright violation
The Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) is preparing to sue hundreds of individuals who illegally distribute songs online.
The RIAA, which represents the major record labels, announced last month it would pursue individual users following a court ruling making it
easier to track down copyright violators.
It plans to file several hundred lawsuits over the summer - sharply escalating the industry's battle against online
Internet service provider Earthlink said it had received three subpoenas since the RIAA pledged to track file-swapping sites such as Kazaa for heavy users.
Earthlink spokesman David Blumenthal said the company would go along with the order to identify individuals.
But he said: "We disagree with the
method that is being used here and while we support the right
of them to enforce copyrights, we think this is the wrong
method for doing so.
"We're urging the RIAA and other copyright holders to find
a less intrusive method for protecting their intellectual
The RIAA plans to use software robots to search for copyright violations, as well as sending warnings to universities and businesses demanding they remove illegal material.
It has already been disrupting the file-sharing networks with fake files of its own which contain white noise.