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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 09:47 GMT
US music firms sue 'web pirates'
compact disc
Pirated tracks can be found on peer-to-peer networks
Music companies in the US have taken legal action against a further 754 internet users in a bid to stop unauthorised online music swapping.

Among those targeted were 20 people suspected of sharing songs over university networks, the Recording Industry Association of America said.

US record companies have sued 7,704 computer users for copyright infringement since September 2003.

In October the UK music industry began action against 28 people.

Unnamed defendants

Among the college and universities attended by students named in the latest US legal action were the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University in New York, Old Dominion University and State University of West Georgia.

As in previous cases, the legal action was taken against unnamed defendants, identified only by their internet addresses.

Music company lawyers must obtain the identity of defendants by issuing subpoenas to internet providers.

To date 1,475 defendants have settled their cases out of court in the US, with settlements averaging $3,000 (1,544) each.

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