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Lawmaker gives thumbs-up to RIAA clampdown

The head of the U.S. House of Representatives panel that oversees copyright law on Friday applauded the music industry's recent lawsuits against peer-to-peer file swappers. "The legal action taken by the recording industry is necessary to protect intellectual property rights from being violated," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property.

In his remarks to the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Smith also said peer-to-peer networks permit "the widespread and massive distribution of digital music, movies, and software files." The remarks come one day after the Recording Industry Association of America filed 80 more lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers, bringing the total to 341. They also signal his continued support for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's controversial subpoena process, which Verizon Communications and privacy advocates had hoped that Congress might modify.