You may have heard or read about the RIAA suing 261 file traders, but you may not know the really sick part of this story. One of the people the recording industry are calling pirates is a twelve year old girl named Brianna LaHara. Her mother, Sylvia Torres, said that the lawsuit came as a total shock. "My daughter was on the verge of tears when she found out about this." She also pointed out that the family had paid a $29.99 service charge for Kazaa, the download service they had been using. "If you're paying for it, you're not stealing it,'' said Torres. "It's not like we were doing anything illegal. This is a 12-year-old girl, for crying out loud." She also said that they usually just listen to songs without recording them. "There's a lot of music there, but we just listen to it and let it go." Brianna and the others sued yesterday under federal copyright law could face penalties of up to $150,000 per song.Here is some more information about little Brianna. She is an honors student who lives with her single mother, and nine-year old little brother in a New York City Housing Authority apartment. Clearly, this family is not a money tree for the recording cartel to shake. Unlike the fat cats in the multi-billion dollar recording industry, they are poor. Just what do the RIAA hope to gain by attacking such people? They know that you won't win friends by bullying children, don't they? Are they oblivious to the idea that this will make their enemies multiply? I sought out comments from them.
I am a little ashamed to admit that I pretended to buddy up to RIAA President Cary Sherman in the hope that it would get him to speak freely. Once he though I was on his side, he had this to say. "We are going to make an example out of that little miscreant. Nobody rides for free. We own the music. She stole the music. She will have to pay the piper now! Pretty soon, she will be in a reform school, her mother in prison, and the little boy in a foster home where maybe they will teach him to respect property. Playing the heavy and using litigation gives me a hard-on!" He then said, "This is all off the record, right?" I said that I could promise no such thing, as I was seeking comments for a news story. He then angrily snapped, "Well, you are all just a bunch of snakes, aren't you?" I retorted that I had been called worse things by better people, and he hung up the phone.
UPDATE: Brianna's mother has settled out of court for $2000. She and Brianna were required to make a public apology. That's $2000 out of the mouths of babies! Hope you like denying food, clothing and shelter to the poor over lousy pop music, Mr. Sherman!