7,500 fans of Lacuna Coil and Iced Earth have been targeted by their label Century Media for illegally sharing their music.
News of the lawsuit comes one day after a report discovered that US internet users download and share more illegal music than any other country.
The file sharers are not named in the lawsuit, but the court will decide whether IP addresses for the 4,327 who shared Iced Earth's "Dystopia" and 3,136 for Lacuna Coil's "Dark Adrenaline" will be used to find their real names and addresses for further litigation.
If identified, the file sharers could face a huge bill. A woman in Minnesota who shared only 24 songs on Kazaa in 2007 was fined $222,000 last week. At one point during the trial she was accused of sharing 1,700 songs and narrowly escaped a larger fine of $9 million, according to SC.
Jay McDaniel, a representative for Century Media said it's not just the downloading of an album that does the damage.
"What many people don't understand is that it's the distribution that's the evil influence", he said (via Classic Rock). "Illegal downloading has reached epidemic proportions, as thousands of works are pirated on a daily basis through bit torrents that rob copyright holders of the value of their creative work... illegal sharing of music on the Internet has killed an entire industry".
Despite the on-going battle with file sharing, the music industry has seen massive growth in the streaming sector thanks to services including Spotify. In August the chairman of Beggars Group said that half their European royalties now came from streaming services, and the BBC reports that streaming will generate the global music business £696 million ($1.1 billion) in 2012 a rise of 40%.
Do you know anyone who might be targeted by the Century Media lawsuit? Do you think streaming will solve the piracy issue, or will it always live on? Let us know your view in the comments.