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.

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Companies: summit entertainment

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

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

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

kyle clements (profile) says:

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?

DocMenach (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Urza9814 says:

Re: 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.

Ben (profile) says:

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


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….”

CHrisM says:

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…

mjb5406 (profile) says:

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.

bRUcE says:

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!!

Steven (profile) says:

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.

Old Coot says:

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…

dan says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

hmm says:

“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.

mjb5406 (profile) says:

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.

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