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.