The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) is suing a seriously ill teenager for illegally sharing music, despite the fact that the family couldn’t afford to represent themselves in court, let alone pay a fine.
19 year old Ciara Sauro from Pittsburgh suffers from pancreatitis, needs an islet cell transplant and is hospitalized weekly. She lives with her single mother, who earns minimum wage.
The background narrative may not excuse them necessarily from the case, but here’s where it gets interesting. They couldn’t afford to defend the case, so a Federal Judge ruled her guilty in absentia and imposed an $8000 fine, which she can’t afford to pay either, due to hospital bills. The amount of songs allegedly shared: 10.
Sauro denies the claim: “Look and see where it (the downloads) came from, and look and see that it’s not me. It’s not fair to do to me.” Better still, the Internet account in the lawsuit was opened by her estranged father, who doesn’t live at the same address.
It’s really a sad state of affairs when the seriously ill can be hounded like this without any affordable legal recourse. The law is for the rich, so they say. The good news according to a local report, Pittsburgh Attorney James Brink has offered to represent the Sauros for free and will ask a judge to reopen the case.