from the do-these-guys-never-think-anything-through? dept
The thing is, the MPAA should know that this is a recipe for disaster. In 2007, Jhannet Sejas went to see Transformers, and filmed 20-seconds to send to her brother to get him excited to go see the movie. The result? Police were called, she was arrested and threatened with jailtime. She was eventually pressured into pleading guilty to avoid jailtime. Samantha Tumpach wasn't quite so lucky. She, along with her sister and her friends, went out to the movies in 2009 to celebrate her sister's birthday. Since they were all having fun, she decided to film some of the group while they were watching the movie. Once again, police were called and she was arrested and spent two nights in jail. After widespread public outcry, prosecutors dropped the charges.
Given those high profile cases, combined with the fact that smartphones have become more ubiquitous, and the pastime of taking photos and videos has become ever more popular, you'd think that maybe, just maybe, someone at the MPAA would think to teach theater owners to be a bit more lenient about the kid just taking a photo or filming a couple seconds of a video. But that's not how the MPAA operates. Its goal in life seems to be to think up ways of how it must have been wronged, and its weird and stupid obsession with movies captured by people filming in the theaters is really quite ridiculous.
The MPAA has now released its latest "best practices" for theaters, and it's basically exactly what you should do if you want to piss off the demographic of folks who actually go to theaters. You can see the whole thing here if you want to see exactly what not to do.
And the MPAA is Obnoxious
The MPAA recommends that theaters adopt a Zero Tolerance policy that prohibits the video or audio recording and the taking of photographs of any portion of a movie.Even better, the MPAA reminds theaters that they should tell employees about their "TAKE ACTION! REWARD," in which employees who capture an evil pirate in action get a whopping $500. In order to get the award, one of the requirements is "immediate notification to the police." The theaters have to have posters, like the one above, on display if they want their employees to get the cash, so expect to see that kind of crap in theaters everywhere. And expect that employees seeking to cash in on that TAKE ACTION! REWARD to be calling the cops all the freaking time, because some kid raises his iPhone to take a quick picture of his buddies or something cool on screen.
Theater managers should immediately alert law enforcement authorities whenever they suspect prohibited activity is taking place. Do not assume that a cell phone or digital camera is being used to take still photographs and not a full-length video recording. Let the proper authorities determine what laws may have been violated and what enforcement action should be taken.
Theater management should determine whether a theater employee or any other competent authority is empowered to confiscate recording devices, interrupt or interfere with the camcording, and/or ask the patron to leave the auditorium.
Could the MPAA really be so out of touch and so completely oblivious that they think this is a good idea? Do they not employ anyone who has spent any time around teens and folks in their 20s? Do they honestly think that most police officers don't have better things to do than rush to the local theater every 15 minutes because some employee is trying to get his $500 and the way to do that is to turn in the kids having fun and trying to share the experience (not the movie itself)? And, most importantly, does no one at the MPAA think that maybe, just maybe, turning theater employees into complete assholes will make fewer people want to go see movies?
Of course they don't. That's because the MPAA is made up of lawyers, like this guy, who are obsessed with one thing, and one thing only: "evil pirates who must be stopped." It really seems like when the movie industry does well, it's in spite of the MPAA. What a disastrous organization, working against the industry's actual interests.