International recording industry organisation the IFPI has launched what it calls the "biggest escalation yet" in its battle against file-sharing.

The IFPI has begun over 2,100 new legal cases against individuals. It has also launched litigation in five new European and Asian countries while beginning its first actions in South America.

Criminal prosecutions, all networks hit

File-sharers in Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, Hong Kong and Singapore are threatened by criminal penalties and payment of damages.

Thousands of file-sharers worldwide have already been forced to pay $3,000 or more in damages to the music label multinationals for sharing music using peer-to-peer services.

It's the fourth wave of litigation since the international campaign began in March 2004, and it targets users across all the major unauthorised networks, including FastTrack (Kazaa), Gnutella (BearShare), eDonkey, DirectConnect, BitTorrent, WinMX, and SoulSeek.
Peace through war

Announcing the latest wave of actions at a press conference in Stockholm today, IFPI chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: "This is a significant escalation of our enforcement actions against people who are uploading and distributing copyrighted music on P2P networks.

"The message today is that there are no havens for the theft of music on the Internet."

Kennedy proclaimed that by its actions, the recording industry has succesfully changed the perception of music: "Making it clear that copyright laws will be enforced against illegal file-sharing".

"There is no excuse to steal music," he said.
The IFPI is launching a mix of civil and criminal prosecution against file-sharers. What type of litigation depends on what laws exist in the country the action takes place.

The IFPI has also released a number of documents and research on file sharing and piracy.