A Year In Jail For Filming 20 Seconds Of A Movie?
from the disconnect-with-reality dept
For some odd reason, the movie industry has been really focused on the supposed camcorder threat this year. They’ve been talking it up with completely unsubstantiated numbers and getting various governments to pass stricter laws, making it a crime to record movies. The thing is, it’s already against the law in most places. These laws are just much stricter. However, the bigger issue is that camcording is the least of the industry’s worries. After all, a large percentage of the movies that are downloadable online aren’t from camcorders, but are leaked from Hollywood insiders. More importantly, every movie is available online. You’re simply not going to stop movies from getting online by throwing some kids with camcorders in jail. All it takes is for one copy to get online and then it’s available to everyone. Stopping 99% of the people putting movies online won’t make the movie any less available because all it takes is that one person to get a copy online and it can spread like wildfire. Finally, downloadable movies do not appear to be a substitute for the social experience of going to the movies. We’ve seen this over and over and over again — most recently with the Simpsons Movie.
But what happens when you get into the habit of treating your customers like criminals and even get laws past to make it easier to accuse them of crimes? You get ridiculous situations like the story of a 19-year-old girl on her birthday who was having some fun with a video camera to record her trip to the local mall. She and her boyfriend went to see a movie and she decided to film about 20 seconds of it to later send to her brother to convince him to go see the movie (yes, to promote the movie, so her brother might become a paying customer). Instead, she was arrested and now faces fines and jailtime. You would think that anyone would recognize this wasn’t a movie pirating situation and let it go — but instead, the theater owner, Regal Cinemas, is pressing charges, while the MPAA is citing its discredited bogus stats as a reason that this type of action makes sense. It’s difficult to see how this benefits the movie business in any way. It’s scaring off people from going to the theaters, treating movie fans as criminals and discouraging them from promoting movies to their friends. Plus, on top of it all, a company like Regal Cinemas is making itself look like a bully. This helps the industry how exactly?