Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIAA Sues 19-Year-Old Transplant Patient

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the kicking-dogs-on-the-way-home dept.

The Courts 663

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Just when you think they've reached rock bottom, it seems the RIAA always finds room to sink a little lower. This time they've sued an innocent, 19-year-old transplant patient, hospitalized with pancreatitis and needing islet cell transplants. Although the young Pittsburgh lady claims that she did not infringe any copyrights, she failed to answer the complaint in time, and a default judgment was taken against her. A Pittsburgh area lawyer has stated that he will represent her pro bono and make a motion to open up the default."

cancel ×

663 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why doesn't somebody countersue them (1, Interesting)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025561)

Why doesn't somebody countersue them for slander?

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (5, Funny)

elnico (1290430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025611)

You probably should have put "IANAL" somewhere in that post.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025821)

No, you really don't have to. There is a thing called freedom of speech that we enjoy in this country.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026075)

calm down, fluffy... he was just implying the parent post hadn't a clue about when countersuing is possible.

that or he likes things in his rectum a lot.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025873)

You probably should have put "IANAL" somewhere in that post.

If his sentence ended in a period instead of a question mark, you'd have a point.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (5, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026015)

If the sentence ended in a period wouldn't that just be bad grammar?

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (3, Interesting)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025625)

IANAL but it seems that you can say anything about anyone in a court of law and have it be outside the normal rules of slander. I think that's why there's a growing movement against harassment-by-the-court; it's been a venue where you can slander someone with impunity for far too long. Also, does the RIAA think that they're doing themselves a favor by suing people like this? If these court cases are really a PR stunt to get people afraid of copyright violations (deterrence being the main point of most laws, right?) then you'd think that they'd vet their cases a little bit more so that they don't look like such schmucks. Of course, maybe their strategy is to scare people by saying, "look, we'll even sue the terminally ill if they cross us!"

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (5, Interesting)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025721)

They have some pretty interesting ad campaigns out at my university. In the dormitory food court, there are posters up that say the average out of court settlement of downloading 10 songs, and compare it to how much Ramen noodles you could buy. It is kind of funny actually.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (4, Funny)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025903)

You need to infringe on the rights of one of these posters and rip one...for posterity's sake :)

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026061)

I just ripped one. It was slightly juicy. I think I need to change my drawers.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (2, Interesting)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025787)

IANAL, but I think that to be accused of slander you have to be shown to be unable to provide evidence of your claims. If that's the case, then you could not be accused of slander through the mechanisms of a court case due to the fact that by sueing someone you are proposing to prove yourself correct in front of a court of law. However, I suppose it would be possible to be punished for frivilous lawsuits if you did it too often.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026077)

Yep you can say anything you want about anyone at any time if its true, first amendment and all that.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025839)

Do you really think the RIAA could sink any lower in the esteem of people following the trials? They've been suing everything from children to dead people, the only way to sink any lower would be to sue, I dunno, suing a fetus. And I'm fairly sure the only reason this hasn't been tried yet is that even the densest judge won't swallow the idea that a fetus can somehow use a computer from inside the womb.

If anything, the message is "We show no mercy. If we deem you our enemy, we will fight you!"

That's the kind of message I'd rather expect from a terrorist organisation than a business group, but YMMV...

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025647)

Because they don't have unlimited financial resources and a squadron of lawyers ready to represent them. The RIAA does, and could keep them tied up in court until the end of time if they wanted to.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025703)

Slander is pretty difficult to prove and prosecute. Switching the argument to Libel, which is written, I would imagine that a countersuit concerning false claims of infringement would require you to prove that the RIAA acted in bad faith; i.e. accused you of infringement while knowing you had not infringed.

If a countersuit like that were launched, they would likely hide behind whatever organisations they use to find people to sue, claiming that they were told you infringed, and believed it, thus acted in good faith.

Such a case would drag on until you ran out of money and settled.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025757)

Because it's the music companies, and not the one being sued, that have all the money in the world to keep shit in court long enough to drive you beyond bankrupsy even if you win.

It's that whole "Justice for the Rich" thing the US has going.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (2, Insightful)

nickrout (686054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025763)

Because in most jurisdictions court proceedings are privileged, ie cannot be the subject of a slander or libel suit.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025951)

I'm confused. When you say privileged, do you mean that they are not public? Because all court papers are public by default.

Re:Why doesn't somebody countersue them (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025995)

No he means that court proceedings are not subject to libel or slander rules. Mainly because they would be dealt with during the trial and possibly later on with measures related to abusing the court system.

But, IANAL, that's just my understanding.

kdawsonfud (4, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025979)

I'm the last one here to sympathize with RIAA, but these headlines on slashdot are getting more and more sensationalist every day. When you see in the headlines some subject like RIAA, Microsoft, Sony or other corporation that get no love here, together with keywords like "cancer patient", transplant, blind, poor leprous boy, etc, my warning signal get automatically on. And when you see that the editor is kdawson, who is infamous for selecting inflammatory articles about some very specific subject you know that this probably will be another one side of the coin article.

We **really*** don't know the details about this case more than the one side story from that lady mentioned in the article. Sure , she claims to be innocent, but that's the judges work to determine. And no, being terminally seek doesn't give you free way to break the law.

That said, I hope the RIAA goes to hell, but I really hope that slashdot gets back to serious articles and stop being a yellow tabloid. or I really hope kdawson evaporates from that editor position.

Where'd you get those cells? (1)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025579)

Excuse me, but those don't appear to be your cells. You must have downloaded them, and therefore you owe the RIAA money.

Re:Where'd you get those cells? (1)

crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025657)

Is that the Registered Internists Association of America?

(shrug) (0)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025589)

Well of course.

Just because someone's dying is no excuse for them to not pay for their music. I think the MAFIAA is acting in the artists' best interests and the interests of all concerned. /end sarcasm

Dying (5, Funny)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025779)

Wow, they really are bottom feeding now. I guess we can expect to see future headlines like these:

RIAA sues Alzheimer patient; he responded "What's a computer?"

DHS: RIAA suspected of links with Al Qaeda.

RIAA raids wedding reception, arrests groom for illegal downloads. Bride sues.

RIAA spokesman praises Mumbai attacks: "The gunmen targeted downloaders."

Space Piracy: RIAA sues NASA over bittorrent client they claim is running on ISS computer.

Foster care agencies warned by RIAA: downloaders are criminals regardless of adoption status.

RIAA sues Dell, HP, Acer for $10B: "computers are nothing but piracy tools".

RIAA accuses NYC opera company of infringement: "Aria sounds too similar to RIAA"

RIAA claims dead man's organs as compensation for "lifetime of piracy".

Re:Dying (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025977)

RIAA sues Somalis for piracy, Somalis return fire

Re:(shrug) (-1, Troll)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025797)

So wait, if I've got cancer then I can get whatever I want, for free?

Re:(shrug) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025883)

yep, what a great fucking deal huh?

Re:(shrug) (4, Informative)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025881)

She was found guilty in absentia. Because she was hospitalised, she was unable to respond to the subpoena. The family claims that the account upon which the downloads occurred were made by the girl's father, who lives at another address. It's all in the articles linked in the summary, but in case you missed them, they're here. [thepittsburghchannel.com]

What is this? (5, Interesting)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025607)

She is guilty because she didnt respond in time? WTF is this? Guilty until proven innocent?
Why even hold a trial? Why not just delare the person with the most expensive lawyer the victor?

Re:What is this? (5, Informative)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025619)

If the defendant is served papers and then doesn't request an extension or delay and then doesn't show up, generally victory is granted to the present party. Unless there are extenuating circumstances like these.

Re:What is this? (4, Insightful)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025663)

It's basically the same as house robbers robbing people who are on vacation. They aren't around to see what you are doing and cannot respond in time to stop you.

Easy money.

Send your lawsuit letters to people you know are not home to receive them, and profit.

Re:What is this? (4, Informative)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025761)

except that the letters for subpeana have to be witnessed that the person served actually did recieve them, e.g. in the mail isn't good enough to prove that the person they were intended for actually got them. IANAL.

ps. IORAL2.

Re:What is this? (4, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025961)

Unfortunately, people who serve papers can easily lie.

Re:What is this? (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025679)

Sadly this is how it works in civil cases.
I personally have been sued half a dozen times by various utility companies and banks.

Each time I didn't show up (mostly due to the fact that I don't recognize the court system as valid) I get a letter in the mail saying the judgment has been made in favor of whoever and that I lose. It doesn't seem to matter if I even knew about the case or not, not showing up means you forfeit.

I'd also like to say none of the companies have ever gotten a single dime from me for anything.
Even tho the system is flawed and craptastic, it doesn't always win even when you do "lose".

Re:What is this? (1)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025737)

You're adorable!

Re:What is this? (1, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026045)

Serves you right, seriously. You do realize that they probably didn't want to waste any more time on small bills, right? You do also realize that those records are public and employers that do back ground screening are going to know about them, right? Is that really worth the couple of bucks you saved by not paying?

Default judgments are mainly for people like you that don't respect the system. A trial can only work if both parties show up, and the default judgment is really the only way of ensuring that both parties do show up.

Re:What is this? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025849)

Guilty until proven innocent?

The children are right to laugh at you Ralph.

It's a civil matter. Learn the difference.

Re:What is this? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025877)

She is guilty because she didnt respond in time? WTF is this?

Well how much time SHOULD someone get to respond? Forever? If so I never have to worry about getting sued. I just never, ever go to court.

IANAL, so a question (3, Interesting)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025615)

I think it's ethically wrong, but as far as not responding to the judgment, is there a solid legal ground for a motion to reopen the case? Is it mainly down to the judge's discretion?

Re:IANAL, so a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025675)

What do you mean by ethically wrong? OJ was ruled innocent at his murder trial because his lawyers generated enough sympathy to generate reasonable doubt. Appeal to emotion is bullshit philosophically but legally, it makes or breaks the case.

[/devil's advocate]

Re:IANAL, so a question (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025689)

IANAL either, but simply not being able to respond, seems solid enough.

On the other hand, the RIAA has been suing dead people, too, and they definitely couldn't respond, either.... hmmm.....

Re:IANAL, so a question (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025955)

simply not being able to respond

Were they not able to respond? If they couldn't respond because the defendant was too depressed (as in, suffers from major depression, which is quite different to simply being sad and considering how ill she is I think its safe to say she has depression) and/or couldn't physically get there, then I have nothing but sympathy for them and hope they get the case overturned.

Unfortunately the linked article doesn't explain any of this. It simply makes appeals on emotion.

Something that doesn't add up is, if the father got the internet connection for his new apartment, why wasn't the ISP's records to the new apartment? And even if he did put his old address, how the heck did it get put in his daughter's name? That just doesn't make sense.

Re:IANAL, so a question (1)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025753)

Obviously, this isn't legal advice, for that you should hire a lawyer. I disclaim any liability.

The answer to your question is going to vary form jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I can say that in Alberta (Canada) you are very lucky if you can hold on to a default judgement. If the defendant can show that they didn't wait a really long period of time to respond to the case and they have a valid defence, then you have a decent chance to get a default judgement set aside. If the defendant is bedridden in hospital, it can only help their case.

Re:IANAL, so a question (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025971)

Its easy to assume that the 19 year old adult was bedridden given the description New York Country Lawyer has given her, but the news article he links to doesn't actually say she was bedridden.

Re:IANAL, so a question (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025953)

From the limited information available it sounds like they are going to argue that the default judgment is unfair because responding by the stated time placed undue hardship on her since she was hospitalized. My mother suffered from pancreatic troubles. Those illnesses can be extremely painful and debilitating even with treatment. If she was having an attack it could very well have made it impossible for her to respond to mail for days or even weeks.

My grandmother was a judge so I know a little of how courts work and how much authority they really have from her stories. They pretty much made the rules in the court room and are plenty empowered to grant exceptions when they think its fair, so I would guess this is all at the judges discretion who probably set the respond by date in the first place.

I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (2, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025627)

...but what does her state of health have to do with anything?

Is there a suggestion they went out to find someone especially vulnerable?

That having this disease makes it impossible for you to pirate music?

That sick people should get a free pass on legal liabilities?

This type of emotive argument is fairly silly and pointless. This person being sued is no worse an example than that of anyone else who is sued by these thugs.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025653)

The fact she was in the hospital made it impossible for her to respond to the complaint thus why she has a default judgement on her. They likely served her, and not her parents and thus her being in the hospital meant she never opened her mail.

So yes her being sick is relevant, they would never have gotten as far as they did if she had not been sick.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (4, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025919)

IANAL

She can't have been served without the papers actually being given directly to her. A court summons sent by mail or handed to a relative is not guaranteed to reach the person, and the court MUST do due diligence in informing a person that they are being sued.

I'm with the GP, this is typical RIAA nonsense with a cheap emotional twist. I can't wait to see the furor over them suing a quadruple amputee, even those such people are perfectly capable of piracy and the RIAA has no way of knowing their amputee status until they meet in court.

OMG THEY SUED A SICK PERSON! I bet they didn't even know she was sick.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026011)

Ex parte [wikipedia.org]

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026089)

to heck with waiting for them to sue amputees. I'm waiting for them to sue the deaf.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025987)

The fact she was in the hospital made it impossible for her to respond to the complaint

Citation needed. Because the article says

[Ciaro Sauro] is hospitalized weekly.

Which would suggest she spends part of the time out of hospital.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (2, Informative)

tchiseen (1315299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026031)

I was just in the Hospital, and one of the nice ladies in the recovery ward had just had surgery was suffering pancreatitis, and she was in quite some pain. Have you ever heard the phrase "kicked in the teeth"? This is a perfect example of that, and I can totally empathize with the victim.

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025659)

Ahoy hoy,

Hear! Hear!

bye bye

Re:I hate the RIAA as much as anyone (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025879)

It's a good example of their tactics affecting innocent people who already have enough to deal with. That's the point I think this article is supposed to make. The law was never intended to be used this way. Filing a lawsuit is something that should be done after a lot of thought, taking into account the real world situation. This is important because the law is very strict and abstract. It's supposed to be used when people can't resolve things by themselves, not as the first step, partly for reasons like this.

How is their health relevant? (2, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025645)

Just curious, why is the health of this person relevant in the case? I assume the RIAA didn't know this person was actually sick before they went after them. Course you can always get conspiratorial about this situation.

Re:How is their health relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025709)

Hospital patient... mail... do I really need to connect the dots for you?

Re:How is their health relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025929)

I think the point was that the RIAA probably didn't know she was sick. So the fact she was sued & lost a case while she was sick is bad luck for her, but does not have any bearing on the RIAA's morals, any more than their sueage of healthy middle-class middle-aged white male suburbanites.

Re:How is their health relevant? (5, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025911)

I assume the RIAA didn't know this person was actually sick before they went after them.

I thought that was part of why people disagree with what the RIAA is doing here. How can you blindly file lawsuits against people you know nothing about?

Re:How is their health relevant? (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025991)

How can you blindly file lawsuits against people you know nothing about?

Thank you. A civilized person. How refreshing after reading several posts suggesting that this sort of thing is okay.

It is not okay in the America I come from.

Re:How is their health relevant? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026093)

So the RIAA should just let all the pirates out there keep pirating their product and give up with trying to make money to produce more music with?

With all the lawsuits the RIAA has brought before the courts (both fair and unfair) there is a mind-boggling number of pirates who have remained unmolested.

If we need the law to be changed, so they aren't breaking the law, then fine. But it needs to be done damn soon. And Congress doesn't appear inclined to even consider the issue.

Re:How is their health relevant? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025983)

It matters because she "did not get her day in court" but a default judgement was made against her. If a judge feels that its likely she failed to respond only because of her condition then that summary decision can be vacated and should.

Artists? (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025651)

When is it that the artists that sponsor the RIAA psychopaths, will say "enough, I don't want to be tainted with this shit"? When will they distance themselves from the RIAA? Or is the bling that the racket money gets them so important?

I for one hope that every single artist that works for the RIAA (yes, FOR the RIAA) will be remembered in infamy. As in "X Y was a very gifted and prolific [vocalist/composer/guitarist/drummer], but his/her work for a RIAA label has tainted his/her biography."

Re:Artists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025697)

That is it. I for one undertake to completely halt any and all purchases of CDs or RIAA-tainted music. Who is with me?!

Re:Artists? (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025921)

I haven't purchased a first-hand CD from a major label in years. Right now, my music comes from Free sources, or my unlimited download membership at magnatune.com [magnatune.com] . I really don't feel that I'm missing anything at this point.

Re:Artists? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025997)

You sort of have to buy RIAA music in the first place to boycott them. FYI.

nt (-1, Troll)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025655)

This time they've sued an innocent, 19-year-old, transplant patient, hospitalized with pancreatitis and needing islet cell transplants.

Oh, an innocent 19 year old eh? How do we know this?

I'm not a fan of RIAA legal tactics, or anything connected with them really, but it's quite possible that this girl is indeed 'guilty' of the offense of infringing on copyrights that the RIAA is accusing her of infringing.

I once spent a significant amount of time in the hospital, does that have any relevance to the question of if I've infringed on copyrights or not?
I understand the desire to show how hard done by she is in the hopes of mobilizing additional resources to defend her, but does that make her innocent? Does anything mentioned in the summary or articles?

Re:nt (5, Insightful)

DivineGod (1160361) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025727)

Oh, an innocent 19 year old eh? How do we know this?

Innocent until proven guilty.

Re:nt (5, Insightful)

ral8158 (947954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025789)

I think you need to take a step back, look at your post, and think about what you are saying. You are saying that because the RIAA sued her, she is probably guilty. In this legal system, the way it works is the opposite: She is innocent of the crime until a court of law has proved her guilty, and we should treat her as such.

Has the RIAA's marketing made you think otherwise?

Re:nt (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025897)

I don't think I'm saying that. At least, I'm pretty sure that's not what I intended to say.

What I'm saying is, there's no justification for making any declaration on innocence or guilt unless you have access to some sort of evidence. I don't think we should treat her as guilty, but nor do I think we should make a factual claim that she IS innocent.

Based off the RIAA's history I think it's likely she is innocent of the offences they're levelling against her. But do I claim to know it? No.

I suppose it's just a case of being pedantic, but I find people claiming to know things without evidence to be distateful. That's what I saw the submitter of this story as doing.

Re:nt (1)

dmartin (235398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025947)

But if we are talking about the legal determination of guilt and innocence then yes, she is technically innocent. But it is also true that not one person has ever been served for a crime he or she was guilty of because they are being served to determine "guilt" or "innocence" in a court of law. I think the parent poster is referring to the logical independence of the statements "actually committed act X in the past" and "is currently in hospital".

(I prefer to think of the terms "guilt" and "innocence" in terms of whether you committed the act or not, and that a courts determination of guilt or innocence as akin to legal fiction [wikipedia.org] . This explains why we say we extend the accussed the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, rather than claiming that they are actually innocent until proven otherwise.)

Re:nt (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026119)

This is not about guilt or innocents! This is civil matter she is liable or not liable for infringing copyrights.

Re:nt (0, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026121)

You are saying that because the RIAA sued her, she is probably guilty.

Nope, I'm saying she's 19 and has an internet connection* so she is probably guilty.

* the article is actually pretty light on this and she might not have an internet connection. Although if she didn't have one, I think that'd be MUCH more relevant then her being ill and so would have been mentioned.

Re:nt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025795)

There's nothing to be guilty of because these copyright laws are stupid bullshit meant to protect a racket that finances cocaine fueled child molestation parties, so by default, she's innocent. Stop being so obtuse.

Re:nt (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025969)

but does that make her innocent? Does anything mentioned in the summary or articles?

The Sauros [thepittsburghchannel.com] said they've lived in their home since Ciara's father moved out. They claim the Internet account in the lawsuit was opened by him at his new address.

Not proof of course but it will be easy enough for the lawyer to check it and bring it to court. Between that and the fact that it is a common stunt amongst the poor to open an account in their child's name when their own credit is messed up already, I would tend to believe them here. That putting their child's credit at risk is more acceptable when it means getting water/sewer, gas or electricity turned on where the child is living then it is for snagging internet or utilities for themselves away from where the child lives.

Would be nice if this being in the news brought some attention to the girl from the Pirates, the Steelers or some charity etc, sounds like they need more help then just getting this copyright infringement case cleared up.

Wait, what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025677)

It's unconceivable that a sick person would illegally download music?

What does one have to do with the other? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025683)

The title of this story should be "RIAA Sues Innocent Person". Mentioning the illness is just a weak emotional appeal (not unlike "think of the children"); if somebody breaks the law, they ought to be punished as much as the next guy. Traditionally prosecution can and will give the guy a break out of empathy and basic human dignity (yes, lawyers are humans, too), but being in a bad spot is not a blank check to get away with crime. Assuming she is innocent, that ought to be enough to deserve our scorn.

Oh I See! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025691)

So, if a person has dysfunctional or damaged organs, it's alright for them to pirate music? I think your ignorance is showing.

This guy deserves the chair. Zaappp!

What we need is... (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025695)

A web site where we can post the pictures and resumes of all lawyers that work on behalf of the RI/MP AA.

Re:What we need is... (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025807)

Amen

RIAA lawyers are like most vermin, They prefer to work in darkness and anonymity.

Why does her condition matter? (-1, Flamebait)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025699)

While I do have sympathy for the girl, I shall certainly not condone treating people differently based on their income levels or their medical conditions (I'll grant that mental conditions are a weird case). Makes me sound like an ass, but that's what I think.

Cheers!
--
Vig

Re:Why does her condition matter? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025899)

How about you get cancer or aids or something and then I'll sue you for supposdly pirating music and I win because you can't respond being in the hospital and all and you owe me tons of money. How would that make you feel?

Re:Why does her condition matter? (3, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025967)

While I do have sympathy for the girl, I shall certainly not condone treating people differently based on their income levels or their medical conditions

Renounce your senior discounts now, and return what you saved in child and student rate admissions over the years!

Re:Why does her condition matter? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026035)

Certain exceptions must be made; If she was infringing their copyrights then yes she should ultimately make good on her liabilities. She should not be found liable without the opportunity to defend herself in the civil preceding because a medical condition prevented he from responding. The decision should be vacated at the trial held off until she fairly defend herself. Suppose you were in the hospital to sick to read you mail and I sue you. You get served but are physically and mentally unable to respond. A court unaware of your condition says you get 30 days to file or I win be default. You think it fair that I should just win? I don't.

Oh for god's sake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26025731)

Nice appeal to emotion, slashdot.

Precedent for unavailability or disablement? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025813)

Was this girl actually served papers? Is there some sort of precedent that exists for if you're unable to make the court date due to unexpected/unavoidable causes, for example if you're served while in a coma, or you're served, hit by a bus, and then unable to make court (due to being in a coma, etc).

In this case it looks like she may have just disregarded the legal paperwork while dealing with health issues... TFA is a little light on details in that regard as all it talks about it how poor she is and unable to pay the fees due to her condition.

And.... (-1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025823)

Clearly to win the PR campaign, the RIAA should do background checks and only sue those person between, say, 18-40 who have no serious medical conditions or other situations that could be used in articles to ridicule the RIAA.

I seriously believe that the RIAA tactics are counterproductive, but so is running stories on every grandmother, cancer patient, orphan, or paraplegic that they sue. If the RIAA are bullies, then everyone they sue is a victim, not just the old and infirm. If the RIAA is following even marginally proper protocol in these cases, then even the old and infirm must answer for their actions. In this case, we can believe that the person is innocent simply because they have not committed a crime. This does not, however, mean that this person never downloaded a unlicensed file, something for which we know the RIAA will sue.

Let us focus on the law and order side of this travesty, not the dog and pony show.

I find it amazing (5, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025835)

I find it amazing that not only is there a 19 year old out there who doesn't download music, but the RIAA managed to find them! I mean what are the odds that a 19 year old the RIAA sues, HAPPENS to be one of the very few who don't pirate?

The odds are simply staggering. Why if the RIAA had those odds when it came to the lottery, they wouldn't need to sell music anymore.

Re:I find it amazing (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025907)

oh for mod points :)

i will place a bet. (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025869)

i am willing to bet 1000$ this is not the end and RIAA will yet find a way to sink lower then this.

How is this relevant? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025871)

But 19-year-old Ciara Sauro strongly denies the charge and says she and her mother are overwhelmed with medical debts.

I don't see how that's relevant (if it is, the Pittsburgh Times doesn't explain it. Did the papers get lost amongst all the medical bills? Dunno). It'd be like me saying "I've just killed 20 kittens today, and I can't pay all my medical bills."

Yes it does matter IMHO (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26025885)

I knew when I posted this that a certain significant minority of Slashdotters, or AC's, would come out of the woodwork saying that the defendant's illness and poverty are irrelevant, so I'll say this once:
-I'm a lawyer
-I don't bring lawsuits against helpless people
-I wouldn't accept any client who wanted me to do that
-yes she is innocent, as anyone knows who RTFA
-it is not really newsworthy that she is innocent because of the 40,000 people sued by the RIAA, probably 20,000 to 30,000 are innocent
-yes defendant's illness makes it harder for her to deal with the case and defend it
-yes defendant's illness makes it more morally opprobrious to sue her, without at least investigating beforehand to make sure she is in fact liable for copyright infringement, especially when -- as in these cases -- the plaintiffs' actual damages are probably in the neighborhood of $3 or $4
-yes it matters that she is sick and impoverished because being subjected to a lawsuit gives such people more anxiety and depression, and more severely impairs their health, than it would to someone who is healthy and has plenty of money
-these types of cases demonstrate more vividly than others how ridiculous, cruel, and immoral the RIAA's suits are, and what an embarrassment they are to the federal court system which has permitted them to exist
-yes her poverty and illness and depression were factors in her failing to respond on time, since it is usually impossible for someone in her position to get a lawyer to take her case.

And to those of you who think that it's okay to bring suits against helpless people, I repeat what I've said to you before; that is not a legal question, it's a moral question. And if you really believe what you're saying, you have different morals than I have. And if you think it's okay, my personal moral evaluation is as follows: you can rot in hell along with the RIAA ghouls who do this sort of thing.

Re:Yes it does matter IMHO (-1, Troll)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026051)

how does her disease change her guilt? If she did download them, she is guilty. If not, then she is innocent. To say she is innocent because she is sick is simply stupid. There are plenty of terminally ill people who are horrible people and should face the consequences of their actions. Just having a terminal illness and/or being poor does not give you a get out of jail free card (however being a protected minority might...)

Re:Yes it does matter IMHO (2)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026111)

Which part of "she is not guilty, RTFA" you do not get?

Mucking Foron

Re:Yes it does matter IMHO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026057)

you're just such a royal ass. what you would and wouldn't do have nothing to do with something can legally be done. as a lawyer i really expected better. that and the fact you've declared her innocent on her word. it's nice how you've already decided the case on the pleas and alibis of the defendant. i'm glad you're not a judge, no one would go to prison.

and you can jam your fucking morals. that's god speak. you probably want id taught in biology classes too. mercy is for weak little bible beaters.

Re:Yes it does matter IMHO (-1, Troll)

Dyerbrook (733173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026081)

So wait, if you're sick, you get to break the law with impunity? If you're sick, it's ok to plagiarize? If you're sick, you can do what you want and get a moral pass? why? Justice is blind. If you want help for sick people, see Charity, not Justice, wrong window. Record companies are not charities. They have to pay for artists and advertising. That means you have to pay, too.

Re:Yes it does matter IMHO (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026109)

isn't justice supposed to be blind, though?

just a simple question.

99% of the time, ray, I'm on your side. here, though - I'm not sure that in COURT that ethics matter. I'm serious - how many times has there been a technicality that wins a case where the 'clear moral direction' would have been the other way? happens ALL THE TIME and you know it.

I never would hope for JUSTICE in the legal system. I might hope to defend myself but that does not mean justice. I'm sure you can see the subtle difference.

the riaa is mostly a bunch of thugs. but arguing that the defendant has a burden - well OF COURSE they have a burden. even well represented they have a burden compared to the 100's of lawyers that the riaa/mpaa has. its ludicrous to argue 'burden'. if you argue that then no 'small guy' should ever be sued by a whole team of lawyers.

our system is broken. but to argue 'ethics' and 'law' at the same time - sheesh. this is the US afterall ;(

To Play Devil's Advocate... (-1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026021)

I know it's an easy heart string to yank on but since when did being sick entitle you to ignore the law?

Yes, it's very tragic. But, to have got to this point she had to have:

  • Probably shared the files in question (yes, some people are falsely accused).
  • Ignored the initial letter demanding payment.
  • Not bothered to protest (I'm assuming here but it would be mentioned in the article if she'd tried telling them they had the wrong person).
  • Ignored any letters in the lead up to being taken to court.
  • Not bothered to get a lawyer to defend herself. Not bothered to seek a pro bono one which she managed to find pretty quickly once she realized she'd screwed up.
  • Ignored the summons.
  • Not bothered to communicate with the court in any way.

As she says in the article,

"I just want them to know that I have to go through enough stress in my life with my sickness and my family, and I don't think that they should go after people just because they want money for something that's not even fair to us."

I don't think it's fair that a Ferrari costs several hundred grand. I don't think it's fair that the cops'll track me down and arrest me if I steal one from a forecourt. I don't think it's fair that I'll be required to go to court. I don't think it's fair that they'll sentence me in abstentia if I don't bother to show up.

How sick do I need to be for it to be OK to just ignore all of that? I mean, sure, a Ferrari is worth more than ten songs (though not on the $250k damages argument).

Whilst I realise "pancreatitis" and needing an "islet transplant" sound terrible, as though she's got some crazy, near fatal, cancer or leukemia, etc.... An islet transplant [wikipedia.org] is a procedure used to get type one diabetics off insulin. The pancreatitis [wikipedia.org] part? Most commonly caused by gallstones, second most common cause is alcohol poisoning. Sure, it's quite possible she has a herreditary autoimmune disease - but what little they actually say is also a big scary word way of saying, "She's a type 1 diabetic with gallstones who has to regularly go in to hospital for treatment."

So, if being sick, yes, tragically so, lets you ignore her set of legal predicaments... how sick do I need to get to be allowed to steal that Ferrari? Cancer's got to be good for that one, right?

I get it: She's sick, it's tragic. She got sued for stealing something many people think should be free, that's tragic too. But it doesn't meet the basic criteria of, "Which part of this would an intelligent person without a massive sense of entitlement think is OK?"

As for the RIAA sinking to new lows? It was most likely a totally form prosecution. Had she bothered, in any way, to try and defend herself, to tell them how sick she was, sure, we can accuse them of sinking to new lows. But the total disregard for her own defense implies they likely never knew. From the communications they got, she was just another self-entitled brat who thought she could ignore the [fair or otherwise] legal system. Which she was - just a sick one.

Re:To Play Devil's Advocate... (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026055)

Had she bothered, in any way, to try and defend herself, to tell them how sick she was, sure, we can accuse them of sinking to new lows.

I had a case where the client suffered from severe Multiple Sclerosis, could only get around in an electric wheelchair, and suffered from severe depression. And the woman was totally innocent, had never even heard of file sharing. We begged the RIAA to drop the case. Even the judge begged them to drop the case. They refused.

I know of many other stories like that.

Re:To Play Devil's Advocate... (2, Insightful)

Yacoby (1295064) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026079)

I don't think it's fair that a Ferrari costs several hundred grand. I don't think it's fair that the cops'll track me down and arrest me if I steal one from a forecourt

Could you please explain to me what theft has got to do with copyright infringement?

If you show no mercy you will be shown none (4, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026023)

Pretending the RIAA can respond rationally is a waste of time and effort. I'm afraid that even in our modern society it is time, it's really time to apply brute force on these people. Maybe it's silly to pick out this one arena but there you have it. I think that the RIAA should be singled out for acts of terrorism against them. I think the RIAA should be targeted for killing. All they represent is fascism with a friendly face.

Yes it is extreme but that's what it will take. Sorry if you feel the need to moderate the fuck out of this. It is truly what I believe.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>