RIAA Wins $8K Default Settlement Against Chronically Ill Teen

Like something straight out of a bad made-for-TV movie, the RIAA has handed down its most recent hard-earned lesson about file sharing (and a possible $8,000 fine) to Ciara Sauro, a 19-year-old girl who suffers from pancreatitis and severe depression, has mounting medical bills and whose mother brings in just $8.25 an hour.

In the midst of her weekly required hospitalizations (because of her condition and her need for an islet cell transplant), she apparently shared a whopping 10 songs with other people over the internet. Shockingly, Sauro wasn’t able to make it in to court to defend herself, and as such, the judge entered a default judgment against her for close to $8,000.

Unlike most Americans, Sauro actually adamently denies that she was the perpetrator of the file-sharing crime, and is (obviously) outraged that she may have to pay such a hefty fine for something she didn’t do. We agree, of course, but we also wonder why the RIAA hasn’t managed to track down the perfectly healthy, financially well-off, 20-something hackers who download and share tens of thousands of files every week and asked them to pay up. Regardless of whether you think anyone should be held criminally liable for file sharing, you have to agree with this — some poor sick kid in Pittsburgh who (allegedly) shared 10 tunes with some friends does not deserve such a punishment.

Sauro and her mom say that the internet account sited in the lawsuit was actually opened by her father after he moved out. The good news is, a local attorney has offered to represent Ciara pro-bono and ask a judge to re-open the case. Interestingly, available now through the RIAA is a resource guide for parents and teachers called “Young People, Music and the Internet: A Guide For Parents & Teachers About Digital Music & Downloading.” Ironically, you can’t view it on the site. You have to download it.

POSTED December 5, 2008 7:25PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (26) TAGS:




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  5. andycohn says:

    that is lame

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  7. SeanJJordan says:

    It’s “cited”, not “sited.”

  8. Capt. Crunch says:

    It’s about time. Share 1 file or thousands, you’re all the same sick, twisted, evil scum that should be sued.

  9. AC says:

    Copyright protection for audio and video recordings should just be eliminated entirely. I fail to see why my taxes should be wasted propping up a non-viable industry to keep a bunch of incompetent media executhieves in coke and whores.

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  11. Astounded says:

    This is a horrible case of kicking someone while they are down. Pancreatitis is not a common condition in young people. I grew up with chronic cases of it due to a cyst on base of my bile duct. My father’s Oncologist once explained to him that the pain of a pancreatitis attack is up there with bone cancer. That poor girl. I hope that they are able to help cure her so that she can begin to experience life without constant excruciating pain, and that they are able to get a fair trial for this girl.

  12. Mr proofread says:

    Its adamantly, not adamently. Whoever authored this is no journalist.

  13. Ian says:

    Heartless a55h0l35!

  14. Ayumi says:

    Serves her right. I agree with RIAA 100%
    <3 RIAA

  15. Gene says:

    Directv and RIAA never win when they have used the court to force a settlement when the person was innocent. The justice system lost as a whole because when people are forced against there will to settle, it is no different then a robbery. This especially when they knew the person was innocent. Think about it, when the person “was” innocent, it was a crime to lie in the court complaint. The next time I face my civic responsibility as a Juror or witness, I will use Juror Nullification to ignore the justice system just as they have ignored me. Justice has to protect those who have been sued by fraud.

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  17. Hsew says:

    fuck the RIAA
    they need to spend their money on efforts that would actually BENEFIT the world

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  20. Red says:

    To Capt. Crunch and others like you. Get off your high horse.
    So none of you own a VCR and have never recorded a movie/program from the television.
    Because if you have that is also technically copyright infringement.

  21. xxx says:

    fuck the riaa

  22. JamesA says:

    A default judgement, if you do not know, is entered upon an individual who does not file an answer to the complaint filed by the plaintiff (RIAA). The courts do not like to enter default judgement, but in the case of this young person they most likely did not have an alternative. The courts would be wise to re-open this case, as the American courts do not like to stand on default judgements and would instead prefer to adjudicate on the merits of the case.

    I think in the next few years you’ll see a lot like Tanya Anderson’s case in which she is currently filing for charges of malicious prosecution against the RIAA, citing things including the famous “driftnet” quote.

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