Director Of New Moon Says Jailing Of Girl For Snippets Of Video Of His Movie Is 'Terribly Unfair'

from the it-is,-isn't-it? dept

While he has no official say in the matter, it is still worth noting that Chris Weitz, the director of the movie New Moon has said that he thinks it's "terribly unfair" that a 22-year-old girl was jailed and now faces felony charges because her attempt to film some of her sister's birthday celebration caught less than four minutes of New Moon on her video camera (found via Copycense). Weitz is not the copyright holder and has no real say in what happens, but he does note that he's talking to Summit Entertainment, the studio who made the film, to let them know of his concerns, to see if there's anything that can be done.

Of course, what should be done is that the law should be changed so we don't have these ridiculous situations at all. And hopefully he would stand behind such a proposal. In the meantime, it's just yet another in a long line of examples of the law creating punishment that is way out of proportion with the "crime" when it comes to copyright and copying of content.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    so there are people in hollywood that aren't souless copyright nazi's? im am utterly shocked and amazed.

    I am sure i just saw a squadron of flying pigs and a fissure opening in the ground with snow coming out.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    "snippets"? Talk about downplaying the 4 or 5 minutes that are apparently on camera.

    WTG Mike!

     

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  3.  
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    Will (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    4 to 5 minutes of a movie is a very small portion. The movie runs for 2 hours 2 minutes. That is 182 minutes. 5/182 is less then .028. That is less then 2.8% of the movie. Practically nothing, yet she has jail time and felony charges.

     

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  4.  
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    Headbhang, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Re:

    Oh yeah, I wonder why people bother to make 90+ minutes of movie when all you need is 4-5 of it to steal it and destroy your profits. Right?

     

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  5.  
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    Call me Al, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    4 or 5 minutes is nothing and to jail someone for this is absolutely ridiculous.

    Even if various people aren't willing to amend copyright laws there should still be a more common sense approach to these things.

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 9:57am

    Wait until 24 songs will get you 24 years consecutively ....

    It seems that we are getting to the point where we will be "getting tough" on piracy, turning civil cases into criminal. With a felony theft being around $2,500 in most states, imagine how much time $80,000 x 24 worth of music will get you ....

    .... welcome to the wonderful world of IP maximalism, and have a nice stay

     

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  7.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    Good for him! I'm glad to see common sense is not completely dead, it's just extremely uncommon.

    This is why I oppose restrictive copyright laws. This should be an obvious case of fair use. I think a plaintiff should be required to establish that infringement is not fair use before even contacting the defendant to stop cases like this. Even if the defendant 'wins' they wind up with a massive lawyer fee.

    Now lets wait for the trolls to appear, set up the 'guy-on-the-street selling bootlegs' straw man, argue that we are all freeloading pirate lovers, and this case is no different than large scale for-profit piracy.

    Why is quoting text not only perfectly acceptable, but required for academic writing, but quoting snippets of TV, music, or film for a video of your own is automatically assumed to be infringement?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Of course it's terribly unfair.

    But since when has the outhouse basement called Hollywood cared about "fair"?

     

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  9.  
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    jayfree666, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    5 minutes of movie that has like 6 minutes of good content is about 83%, hardly something that can be ignored!

     

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  10.  
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    Lobo Santo's Ugly Cat, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    Kyle, it isn't an obvious case of fair use - you just shouldn't have a video camera in a movie theater, simple as that. There is not fair use here. Please learn what the term really means.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Fair use

    Considering that the movie was in the background while she was filming her sisters birthday party I think there is a reasonably compelling arguement that it isn't use at all. Having a blank wall in the background would not have materially affected the content of the video.

     

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  12.  
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    Deanjo, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re:

    "The movie runs for 2 hours 2 minutes. That is 182 minutes."

    Not sure where you live but an hour is 60 minutes here there for the length of the movie is 122 minutes.

     

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  13.  
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    Ben (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    I emailed Muvico to tell them I was gonna boycott them. Got this bland statement back:

    MUVICO’S OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO CAMCORDING INCIDENT AT MUVICO ROSEMONT 18

    The unauthorized video recording of a motion picture while it is being exhibited in a movie theater is illegal under federal law and under the laws of more than forty states, including the State of Illinois. According to a study commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America, illegal film piracy costs the movie industry billions of dollars each year, and illegal camcording in movie theaters is the source of over 90% of all illegally copied movies in their initial release form.

    In order to combat the increasing theft of copyrighted films, the motion picture industry has encouraged theater owners to adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy prohibiting the video or audio recording of any portion of a movie. Specifically, theater managers are instructed to alert law enforcement authorities whenever they suspect illegal activity. Theater managers have neither the expertise nor the authority to decide whether a crime has been committed. Law enforcement professionals determine what laws may have been broken and what enforcement action should be taken. It is then up to prosecutorial discretion to determine the seriousness of any charges that might be leveled.

    In our continuing effort to educate our guests about the illegality of film piracy, Muvico prominently places a number of posters and signs within its theaters alerting moviegoers of its “zero-tolerance” policy with respect to the camcording of films in its auditoriums.

    Beatriz E. Gerdts
    Administrative Assistant

    ------------------------------------

    Nice and bland. Effectively says "Not our fault, blame the law...."

     

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  14.  
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    william (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    It's a snippet for crying out loud.

    Let me take 1 min segments 4 times every 1/2 hour during the movie to "pirate" it and then sell you for a few bucks.

    Would you buy? Would you EVEN download that?

    Not to mention it probably only have 50-25% of the movie screen since she's filming her sister, not the movie.

     

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  15.  
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    John Doe, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re:

    You shouldn't have a video camera in a dressing room, but a movie theater? Really?

     

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  16.  
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    CHrisM, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Shouldn't crap

    @Lobo Santo's Ugly Cat "you just shouldn't have a video camera in a movie theater, simple as that." -
    What a crock.. we live in a so called free society, its probably not wise for me to wave a camera around in a cinema but saying I "shouldn't" is pure crap.. I am innocent until they prove that I have done something illegal...

     

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  17.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Yep... good ol Rosemont Illinois... and the Movico theater acted like the rest of the thugs in that suburb of Chicago. Someone should shove a sie 13 boot up the theater manager's behind... of course, he's probably on the "unofficial" city payroll.

     

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  18.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Re: I emailed Muvico to tell them I was gonna boycott them. Got this bland statement back:

    Notice that they lay the blame squarely on the MPAA... and never acknowledge that they have any responsibility.

    At least you got a response. I emailed them and it was ignored. Maybe it's time we set up pickets outside their theater.

     

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  19.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    Another act of civil disobedience?

    Maybe we could organize a large group of people (maybe 100 or so) to march into the theater and brandish their cell phones, taking video clips of the movies there... then see how many cops show up to haul us to jail. The Rosemont Police don't have a force that big, and the police they do have are specialists in handling traffic, not something like this.

     

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  20.  
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    Will (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your right, my bad wasn't thinking correctly. It comes to just over 4% with the correction.

     

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  21.  
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    Will (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re:

    Who is to say the 5 minutes she got was part of the 6 good minutes of the movie.

     

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  22.  
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    Damion, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    yet another example of how the industries not willing to evolve with technology has brought harm to the otherwise innoscent

     

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  23.  
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    Comboman (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    Fair Use or not doesn't matter since this isn't a case of copyright infringement (which would be a civil case). She is charged with "camcordering in a theater" which is a criminal offense, so even if fair use would apply to the resulting infringement it doesn't help her in the criminal case.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re:

    Except that the location has nothing to do with fair use.

     

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  25.  
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    bRUcE, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    hmmm, isn't the law written to jail those who have criminal intent to break it with disregard? I havent seen the video...however, if only 4-5 minutes was captured during a birthday celebration....somehow that does not show criminal intent. We all incidentally break laws without meaning to, thats life! But, I was always under the impression that we makes laws to punish those who break them with criminal intent, disregard or recklessness.

    Honestly its not the law that needs changing, but perhaps law enforcers who do not know how to use good judgement. We all know what the copyright laws are intented to do. Arresting a girl for capturing 4-5 minutes of a movie during a birthday party IS NOT WHAT IT WAS INTENTED TO DO!!

     

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  26.  
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    DocMenach (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re:

    you just shouldn't have a video camera in a movie theater, simple as that. There is not fair use here. Please learn what the term really means.

    Really? Well, can I have my phone in the theatre? Most phones now have video cameras built in. How about my iPod? The new iPods have video cameras too.

    Legal Dictionary Definition of Fair Use: "A use of copyrighted material that does not constitute an infringement of the copyright provided the use is fair and reasonable and does not substantially impair the value of the work or the profits expected from it by its owner"

    Lets see, incidentally capturing a few minutes of a movie in the background. Sure sounds to me like a fair and reasonable use of the material, and would not substantially impair the value of the work or profits expected from it. It sounds like YOU are the one who needs to learn what the term really means.

     

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  27.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    C'mon, with all the sparkly vampires the camera probably only shows a white splotch.

     

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  28.  
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    Steven (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    It's not even copyright infringement!

    She isn't even being charged with copyright infringement because there was no copyright infringement. She was charged with a bogus law that shouldn't even exist "criminal use of a motion picture exhibition".

    She would have to violate one of the grants of copyright (such as distribution) to have committed copyright infringement. She has done nothing that should be against the law even in the land of overbearing copyright.

     

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  29.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re:

    I'll just add this attitude of the movie industry to the list of reasons why I do not go see movies in the theaters anymore.

     

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  30.  
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    Old Coot, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    The Real Crime

    The real crime was being rude in a theater. Unless they bought out all the seats for her sister's party, I think it would have spoiled the movie going experience of those who came to see that steaming pile...erm I mean, cinematic masterpiece?

    Anyway, if I was trying to enjoy a movie, and some group of folks were being loud and obnoxious brandishing video cameras and having a "fun time" I would have given a standing ovation to the police as they were carted away...

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re: The Real Crime

    I believe someone mentioned in the previous post that that movie theater actually has separate rooms for parties that look into room where the movie is playing.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Yes, they rent out the entire room. It would have taken you less time to look it up than write your rant.

     

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  33.  
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    dan, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    There is only 4 minutes recorded

    For the simple reason that she got caught in that amount of time.

    come on, what the fuck do you need a movie camera in a movie theater for?

    If your taking movies, YOU ARE RUINING WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO. Whatch the fucking movie. Sit down bitch, shut the fuck up, and turn off the god damnc camera. If I appera ANYWHERE in your movie, I will shove the camera up your sweet ass and then slam dunk you out the door. She deserves to go to jail. For all the above reasons along with the charge.

    You people are pitiful.

    fucking idiots.

     

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  34.  
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    vyvyan, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's now 4 minutes of movie. It's four minutes of total video with some movie and some pre-movie commercials.

     

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  35.  
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    vyvyan, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah I forgot to remind that four minutes also contain the b'day celebration. Which, I guess, will be comprise most part of video.

     

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  36.  
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    Brian, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    Common sense has no place in these days of "Zero Tolerance" polices and "Think of the children" grandstanding.

     

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  37.  
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    hmm, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    "Theater managers have neither the expertise nor the authority to decide whether a crime has been committed. "...

    1) I think some theater managers should SUE for libel, for claiming they have fake credentials when some of them DO have the expertise........

    2) The RIAA doesn't have the expertise not the authority to decide whether a crime has been committed...it just lives in a fantasy world where it BELIEVES it does.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    Well, I'm convinced. I am an idiot and pitiful. Thank you for showing the error in my ways.

    Should people go to jail for being rude? Did the incident take place in the bulk of the theatre or in a private "party" room?

    Either way, I am glad to know I am a pitiful fucking idiot.

    Thanks for that.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: The Real Crime

    You don't have to buy every seat. You can book a theatre for a birthday party with the assumption that your party will be during the off-period of the day, when sales are expected to be slow. No indication that was the case, but it's a fair assumption.

     

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  40.  
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    dan, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    You said it dick head. You must feel guilty for how many times you have ruined other peoples movie experience because of your rude ways.

    Maybe we should just kick your fucking ass next time instead of having you arrested. I like that idea better anyway.

    f.o.a.d.

     

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  41.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    Why do people get so pissed off about movies? There are two things that people in the US get pissed off about; traffic and theaters. Someone could rip the back wall off of a house and they just have to pay for it, but hell comes to those who swerve in traffic or talk during a movie.

    Or you know, dan, you could have seen that they did rent out the room so they wouldn't interrupt anyone.

    That's a good idea, I'll have to see if our theater will let me rent out a room for a birthday party.

     

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  42.  
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    Ben (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    Regardless of where she was standing when videoing this movie, i.e in a private room, or in the main auditorium, she was not arrested for being a jerk. If that were a crimal offense, you'd have been thrown in prison after your first post.

     

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  43.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    Wait a tick, if being rude is jailable, would some one please track this guy, i find it rude and offensive to be labeled the way he did...

    what do you think of that there sunshine.

     

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  44.  
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    chronoss, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    HOw about he offer to pay her legal fees

    and make up for what his film has done to her rather then the proverbial OH GEE isn't that sad i'm sorry , are you ok now?

    Like go see her in jail to see what your film and industry are doing to the world buddy

    he wont its prolly his publicist saying you better say somehting rather then sincere

     

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  45.  
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    Urza9814, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    But see, here's the thing - it's a CRIMINAL case they're doing here. Not civil, criminal.

    What you are in effect saying is that if I invite you into my house and you pull your car keys out of your pocket, I can call the police and have you thrown in jail because I don't think you should have your car keys in my house. Right?

    Yes, it's private property. If they want to kick out anyone who brings in a camera they can. But saying it should be a _felony_ is nothing more than a complete perversion of the rule of law.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

    Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    Im guessing you didnt read that she rented out a private room where she would not have ruined your time or anyone elses. You're the fucking idiot, stupid illiterate bastard!!

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Watching the Twilight Franchise is reason enough to be jailed.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Re: There is only 4 minutes recorded

    "If I appera ANYWHERE in your movie, I will shove the camera up your sweet ass and then slam dunk you out the door. She deserves to go to jail." Hmmm.. So you think a girl who films you deserves to go to jail, right after you do an "assault and battery" on her? Does anyone else see the irony of this post?

     

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  49.  
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    Dementia (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 6:55pm

    Re: I emailed Muvico to tell them I was gonna boycott them. Got this bland statement back:

    And on top of everything else, the response is from an administrative assistant. Since when did administrative assistants become spokespeople for a theater company?

     

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  50.  
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    JeroenW (profile), Dec 10th, 2009 @ 10:15pm

    Don't whine, it's your own fault

    After all, you guys created your political system where special interest groups have way too much influence.

    Add to that 8 years of facist rule under bush the younger and this is what you get.

    To be honest, I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd been sentenced to the stocks in the nearest mega-mall.

     

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  51.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 12:39am

    Re:

    IIRC, Weitz has stated he's tired of the Hollywood game and is considering quitting after his next movie. Common sense is apparently not an asset there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Common Sense Prevails!

    The case ws thrown out in court today in Rolling Meadows, IL. According to the defendant's attorney, it seems that the MPAA is offering a reward to theaters for having such "heinous criminals" arrested, so that explains the overzealous theater chain. Movico got itself a whole bunch of bad publicity, and now pribably a civil suit to boot, since the woman spent 2 nights in jail and at least $3,500 to defend herself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: I emailed Muvico to tell them I was gonna boycott them. Got this bland statement back:

    The title may just be a smokescreen to over her ass (I assume it's a female that responded).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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