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Word Count: 473
Major music companies are preparing to mount a broad new attack on unauthorized online song-swapping the Wall Street Journal reported The campaign would include suits against individuals who are offering the largest troves of songs on peer-to-peer services The big recording companies working through their trade association the Recording Industry Association of America are moving toward filing copyright lawsuits that would target the highest volume song providers within the services which allow people to grab songs without paying artists or labels according to people with knowledge of the matter The suits would be part of a broader effort including a public campaign that may feature prominent artists urging music fans to respect copyright rules The new legal tack would be a departure from the entertainment industrys strategy so far Companies have been reluctant to take legal action against individual Internet users in part because they have feared the possible backlash that could result from big corporate interests dragging individuals into court Instead the industry has focused on lawsuits against for-profit piracy outfits and the operators of peer-to-peer services like Napster Morpheus and Kazaa Those attacks have generally been successful in the courts But they have failed to stem the growth of online song bazaars The Morpheus file-sharing application has been downloaded more than 95 million times and Kazaa more than 90 million times through Cnet Networks Incs Downloadcom People with knowledge of the matter say that the recording-industry trade association is still in the early stages of planning its efforts The labels are discussing what actions should trigger such suits including exactly what a music uploader would have to do to become a target The details and scope of the PR push also havent been resolved In general music artists havent been out front in combating digital piracy and some have even endorsed file-sharing Still these people say top record-label executives agreed in a trade
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