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The recording industry has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 761 computer users, the latest round of litigation in the record companies’ effort to stamp out unauthorized trading of music online. The latest batch of lawsuits on Thursday also targeted 25 computer users suspected of swapping songs over university networks, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group for the largest music companies. The RIAA claims the defendants used peer-to-peer services, including eDonkey, Kazaa and LimeWire to share music. Among the college and universities attended by students named in the lawsuits were Amherst College, Boston College, Bridgewater State, Iowa State, Northeastern, and the University of Massachusetts. The individual colleges and universities were not named as defendants. As in previous cases, the new lawsuits were filed against “John Doe” defendants — identified only by their numeric Internet protocol addresses. Music company lawyers must obtain the identity of defendants by issuing subpoenas to Internet access providers. In all, recording companies have sued 6,952 computer users since September 2003. To date, 1,300 defendants have settled their cases out of court, the RIAA said. Settlements in previous cases have averaged $3,000 each. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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