Spiderman Bootlegger Caught — But How Much Damage Did He Do?

from the so-what dept

While Hollywood and its friends are absolutely thrilled with the free publicity they get from the news that a projectionist with night vision goggles happened to catch a teenager trying to record the new Spiderman movie, most people are ignoring the real issue. Since this happened in California, where we have this wonderful new law the kid may now face serious time in jail. Now, obviously, he was doing something wrong. However, does the punishment fit the crime? I don’t use file sharing systems, so I have no idea for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that the movie is already available online for anyone who went looking for it — and it’s probably available in a much higher quality format thanks to insiders leaking the film out. In other words, what this kid was doing probably wasn’t going to cost anyone in Hollywood a dime. However, you can bet that large loss numbers will get thrown about when the kid finds himself in court.

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Comments on “Spiderman Bootlegger Caught — But How Much Damage Did He Do?”

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thecaptain says:

No Subject Given

the very sad part is that industry refuses to believe that most (if not all) downloaders of a movie like that will not only likely go see it in the theater, but also buy the DVD, then maybe the special edition boxed set etc….

I remember downloading one movie from IRC…X-Men, the first one. That was AFTER I had seen it in the theater and loving it…I just wanted to watch it again between then and the home video release (at which point I bought it on vHS, and again on DVD once I got one)…so how can they say that downloading it lost them money here?

This is like the panic when the first starwars was found on the net before release. I knew a few people who had it, and every one of them was in line for the first show opening day…

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

So if I try to rob a bank but get caught before I leave the bank then no crime is committed?

If you walk into a bank, point a gun at (or toss a slip to) the teller, and then get caught, you will likely be charged with Bank Robbery, as the act of pointing a gun at the teller is Robbery.

If the police catch you before you enter the bank with a gun, and can reasonably assume that your intention of entering a bank with a gun was to rob the bank, you’d be charged with Conspiracy to commit Bank Robbery. The same is true when you are at your hideout and are planning a bank robbery when the police storm the building.

It isn’t that difficult.

However, the two “crimes” aren’t even close to one another. One is a crime of violence, and the other is a crime of copyright infringement. Now if the teenager walked into the theater with a bag of powdered sugar and then told eveyone in the theater that he had anthrax and would release it if they didn’t give him their money, then the analogy would be more accurate.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Hey, AC!

Yes, if “every one does it, it’s okay”.

This country is a democracy (well, technically it’s a federal republic founded under a democracy, but that’s not important) and so if a vast majority (i.e. “every one”) believes that something is right (i.e., “it’s okay”) then maybe, just maybe… it is OK.

alternatives says:

Re: No Subject Given

so if every one does it, it’s okay

Actually, in common law (the basis of US law) there was a priniciple where if a law was being violated by most of the population than that law may just be unjust.

The ‘test cases’ here is this:

Because a citizen feels ‘let the police handle it’, s/he sets up a body recorder to record thier goings on so they’d have evidence to use to turn over to the police. They go into the theatre and get busted.

A citizen feels the law is unjust, and has a thing for video-taping the audiance with night vision on thier cam corder. Or is doing some survelance and wants video evidence of an unfaithful partner in the theatre. Goes in, and starts recording, THEN gets busted.

Both uses that do not infringe on the IP of the movie makers.

thecaptain says:

Re: No Subject Given

I’ll bite the troll…

I don’t think Mike’s implying its “ok” (unless the reader has severely diminished mental capacity, then I suppose I could see where he’d get the vague impression).

The point is that the punishement far outweighs the crime. Like capital punishment for swearing in public or something. The OTHER point is that this sort of thing isn’t a threat to the industry because the released bootleg is of such low quality that it wouldn’t deter anyone from buying the dvd or seeing the movie (unless the movie was such utter crap that seeing the bootleg turns you right off…but that’s another issue altogether).

Bill (user link) says:

Beating them at their own game???

Some group should organize people to take video recorders to every theatre . . . with no tape in the cameras. Technically, they wouldn’t be in violation of the law as they couldn’t actually record the film but if everyone sat there with thier camcorders pointed at the screen then it would render the night-vision defense ineffective if the entire audience is doing this.

If the theatres ban actual camcorders, have people bring some sort of camcorder lookalike device (kid’s toy or something) and hold it up like they’re recording the film.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Beating them at their own game???

You don’t understand how the U.S. legal system works. The specific wording of the law doesn’t really matter. Some **AA friendly judge (most seem to be) could rule that the possession of a recording device look-alike is also illegal and then proceed to send people to prison for it. It’s called “results-oriented jurisprudence” within the legal community and refers to the practice of judges making rulings to obtain the results they desire regardless of the actual wording of the law. Laws state, but judges rule.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Look alikes ...

I quit smoking cigarettes on June 13th. Since then I have taken to using a Nicitrol inhaler when the craving for nicotine takes over. I have been successful in NOT smoking and have not lit one cigarette.

The other day I was in the grocery store & had a strong urge for nicotine. As a result I pulled out my inhaler and took several puffs on the device.

Some nosy cunt smarmily informs me that smoking is NOT allowed in the store and she is going to notify a manger.

I snottily informed her that its not a cigarette, it’s not lit & she could kindly shove her cart up her extremly fat ass.

A camera without a means of recording is no more illegal than me carrying a FAKE cigarette into a store that does not allow smoking.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

and a ‘teenager’ doesn’t and shouldn’t imply he’s some young innocent or naive kid. ‘Kids’ are some of our biggest killers, theives, etc.

If he really is ‘just a stupid kid’, then the judge and/or jury would no doubt reduce the penalty to fit the crime. If on the other hand, the kid aint’ so ‘innocent’ hopefully the judge will nail his ass to a cross.

Milnesy says:

It's already out there....

Within 2 days of the release, you can already find it on the street. A friend of mine said that a connection already knocked on the door w/ the VHS in hand. the MPAA can’t do anything to stop it… so just write the loss off. I would bet 100% that the impact of “pirated” movies is less then 10% of the loss.

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