The music industry and legitimate digital-download providers yesterday stepped-up the offensive on illegal digital-download services, as Verizon disclosed details of four alleged illicit file downloaders.

The names were handed over to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Peer-to-peer file-sharing network Verizon disclosed the names after an appeals court denied the company's request for a stay while it challenged a law allowing the music industry to subpoena the names.

An RIAA spokesman said the industry group was weighing its options on what to do next: "In the next several days we will evaluate how this ruling can best be incorporated into our overall enforcement program."

On Wednesday the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied Verizon's request for a stay pending the outcome of an appeal. Verizon filed the appeal after a US district judge ordered the Internet service provider to turn over the names of two Verizon customers who allegedly had downloaded hundreds of songs through a peer-to-peer file-swapping service.

The RIAA has sought the names of two other alleged downloaders from Verizon, but those two haven't been part of the previous court rulings.

Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon Communications, said the company will continue to fight the subpoenas. Oral arguments before the appeals court are scheduled for September 16.