San Francisco The record industry's trade group has warned 204 people suspected of illegally swapping music over the Internet that it plans to file lawsuits against them.
The Recording Industry Association of America started mailing sternly worded warnings last week. Unlike last month's crackdown against 261 alleged song sharers, the targets are being notified before lawsuits are filed.
"In light of the comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out, short of legal action," said RIAA president Cary Sherman.
The letters give the recipients 10 days to contact the RIAA to discuss a settlement and avoid a formal lawsuit. The RIAA declined to identify the individuals, but said they were sharing an average of more than 1,000 songs on their computers.
The advanced notice also could help the RIAA avoid embarrassment.
Last month's targets included a 12-year-old girl and a grandmother who claimed she was falsely accused of sharing rap songs. Many of the accused learned of the lawsuits when they were called by reporters.