Friday, December 05, 2008

RIAA crushes depressed, disabled teenager to make some sort of point

If this was a made-up story, you'd be waiting for the appearance of some ghosts and scene of redemption. But this is the real world, this is the RIAA and they really have just won a default judgement against a 19 year-old girl who is already having a fairly shit life:

Ciara Sauro, 19, who is disabled with pancreatitis, beset by crushing medical debts and severely depressed.

Sauro lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her mother, who makes $8.25 per hour. The girl requires weekly hospital treatment for her medical condition and needs an islet cell transplant. She denies the illegal file-sharing allegations but didn't defend herself in court.

The charming music industry has netted itself eight grand from the judgement - which is, you know, fair enough because, it believes, Sauro shared ten songs.

Sauro denies sharing the songs, but even if she did - eight hundred dollars per song? About three weeks work for her mother on pisspoor wages for every song?

Even if the RIAA is legally right, does nobody in their offices ever stop to think about how pulling this sort of thing makes them look? Do EMI really want their business associated with bullying a young woman who lives on nothing? Is Warners proud that their brand values reflect picking on people who - literally - are unable to defend themselves? Sony's jolly family entertainment company wants to be known as the sort of people who send the bailiffs in to take cash from a woman who doesn't even make the price of a CD as her hourly rate?

And what about the artists, in whose name this crusade is being fought? Does Timberlake or Timbaland lack the backbone to tell their bosses they've moved into the 'cruel tyranny' stage of their business plan?

In a book, there would be redemption and release. In the real world, Justin Timberlake gets an extra twenty cents and the music industry sends another family into perpetual misery. And they're the ones who lecture the rest of us about morality.


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