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Music Industry Chases Free-Music Site Off Net

Free-music Web site Listen4Ever.com is having some serious trouble living up to its name, after the Recording Industry Assn. of America successfully pressured Internet service providers to pull the China-based site off the Net.

The RIAA said Wednesday it is withdrawing a planned lawsuit in which the trade org said it was “seeking assistance” from four ISPs in cutting off access to the site, which offers several thousand tracks from major-label artists for free download.

“This particular network was a crass attempt to evade our copyright laws by setting up shop in China, while offering a treasure trove of mostly American music for free,” RIAA chairman Hilary Rosen said. “The fact that this file-sharing service went to such lengths to conceal its origins demonstrates again the awareness that this is an illegal activity.”

The RIAA is also working in tandem with its London-based sister organization the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, to prepare a lawsuit against Listen4Ever itself.

The site has been unavailable in the U.S. since Sunday.

Music piracy has long been rampant in China and other parts of the developing world, where illegal goods often make up more than two-thirds of the overall market.

Separately, the RIAA earlier this week asked a federal court in Washington, D.C. to compel high-speed Internet provider Verizon to turn over the name of one of its most prolific online file-sharing users.

The move represented a shift into new territory for the org, which had until recently preferred to go after the peer-to-peer companies themselves, fearing a backlash if they targeted individual users.

A spokesman declined to comment, however, on whether the RIAA would actually file a lawsuit against the user if he is found.

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