The music industry has launched its first lawsuits in Asia against illicit file sharers as it broadens the crackdown on Internet piracy, which it blames for lost sales.
The London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Tuesday that it had filed 963 lawsuits in countries including Japan, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Iceland, bringing the total number of legal actions to more than 11,000 worldwide.
In Japan, the world's second-largest music market, music sales have fallen by nearly a third over the last five years.
Pirated music in the form of knockoff CDs is widespread throughout much of Asia, and online music piracy also is thought to be rife in South Korea and Taiwan.
"The industry has decided this is the time to act," said music federation Chief Executive John Kennedy. "The Japanese are law-abiding citizens, and it may be this delivers the short, sharp jolt that we need there."
Separately, the British Phonographic Industry trade association said it had secured jail terms against five people in Britain who were making counterfeit CDs and selling them.