Woman Arrested For Filming Snippets Of 'New Moon' May Sue Theater

from the but-probably-won't-win dept

The latest in the saga of the young woman, Samantha Tumpach, who was arrested and jailed for two nights because her attempt to film some of her sister’s birthday party at the movies happened to catch a few snippets of the film New Moon, is that Tumpach is now considering suing the theater, even though the charges against her have been dropped. Unfortunately, thanks to the draconian anti-camera laws pushed by the MPAA to punish people for these sorts of things, she might not get very far with such a lawsuit. As Copycense points out, the Illinois law in question basically lets the theater do exactly what it did, even if the circumstances are ridiculous. So, any lawsuit is unlikely to last, though it should lead us to questioning why legislators around the globe have passed similar laws at the behest of the movie industry. There are already perfectly good copyright laws to be used against anyone actually filming a movie for “piracy” purposes. These anti-camcorder laws go above and beyond that, and lead to ridiculous scenarios like this one.

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Comments on “Woman Arrested For Filming Snippets Of 'New Moon' May Sue Theater”

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Lisae Boucher (profile) says:

The fact that she was held for two nights would require some compensation, I’d think. The movie theater could have known that they would lose in court if they continued to press charges. It should not be a big compensation either. Just refund any costs she’d made for her legal defense, add some flowers to the whole thing plus some tickets for the next movie blockbuster that they will show. Preferably with an additional free cola plus popcorn for her whole family.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The fact that she was held for two nights would require some compensation, I’d think.”

Why? Thanks to a lifelong education at the hands of NBC’s Law & Order, can’t the police hold you for 48 hrs, no questions asked? Was the two nights correlation w/48 hours a coincidence in this case? Or is there some rules differing between “holding” and thrown into gen-pop at county corrections facility?

Lisae Boucher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

But is 48 hour-without-being-charged also 48 hour-without-compensation-for-missed-time-and-income?

If she e.g. had to take two days off from work, or missed some exclusive sale or other event, is that just bad luck? Or can she demand (financial) compensation for her missed time? Or should she first demand that a judge declares her innocent before she can demand compensation? (Which would be difficult in this case because it has been dropped.)

Anonymous Coward says:

This is exactly why when the government says “Don’t worry, we won’t enforce this law on you, only bad people,” don’t ever, ever believe them. You would think recording 2 minutes of a movie wouldn’t get you arrested. You’d also think tweeting about a product you got for free without disclosing that you got it for free would also not be illegal. If they’re willing to arrest someone over 2 minutes, why not 140 characters?

Manfriend says:

Don't forget to rate the theater!

Ahh the sweet smell of a Streisand effectflash mob on the internet! Don’t forget to rate the theater where all this went on:

http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=16195052917625124963&q=%22Muvico%2BTheate%20r%20%22 %2Brosemont&hl=en&gl=us

The management there need to know there is a consequence for brainlessness.

Laurel L. Russwurm (profile) says:

This is the Law: Changing It would be More Effective

I doubt suing will get anywhere since the theater was following the law of the land. They acted out of fear that THEY would be in trouble (and they certainly WOULD have) with the MPAA. The ONLY reason she was let off was the media attention.

Yes, it was ridiculous. No it shouldn’t have happened. But it did and it could just as easily have gone the other way. Because the MPAA supported laws do not make distinctions between Commercial Bootlegging and Personal Use Copying, both of which are lumped together under the term “piracy”. If you are making a video while you walk down the street and pass a TV store that is running a film and you record one frame of it you will have broken this law.

The laws need to be changed. A.C.T.A. will make things much much worse.

( A.C.T.A. is still BAD )

Speak out!

Tell your elected representatives what you think. Currently they believe everything the MPAA tells them. If enough voters complain they will hear.

Anonymous Coward says:

If anyone should be getting sued it is the arresting officer. Theatre’s are required by licensing contracts to report any violations to the proper authorities. It is then up to the authorities to determine if the actions reported upon are indeed in violation. THEN it is up to the company who owns the rights to the movie to see if they want to take any action against the violation not the movie theatre. It isn’t their content so they don’t have any authority to press charges; much like if someone got into an automobile accident anyone who wanted couldn’t file charges against the offender, only the person who owns the property that was violated. The only thing that should have happened to this girl is her camera should have been confiscated.

So yes, she should sue the hell out of anyone involved in this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

World of hurt = potential criminal charges, potential civil liability, etc. Heck, every patron that was in the theater during the show that had their enjoyment of the movie disturbed because she stupidly brought a camera into the show could sue her for the cost of their ticket, snacks, travel, inconvenience, and time.

I would say she is better off at even, zero – there is little up and a whole bunch of down here.

Urza9814 says:

Re: Re:

So, what, if someone bigger than you bullies you around you should just ignore it? If a police officer cracks me over the head with a baton for no reason, I should just ignore it, because hey, he could have shot me, right? If I’m walking down the street and get robbed at gunpoint, I shouldn’t report it, because I was lucky – the guy could have shot me. And if I report it he might come back. Right? That’s _exactly_ what you’re advocating…live in fear, and never stand up for yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually you can be held longer than 48 hours in a county/city jail after arrest, if you’re unlucky enough to be arrested on a Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, or around a holiday. The clock doesn’t start ticking until the next business day, so you could be held from Friday until Tuesday, when you would have a court hearing, and it takes another 12-24 hours to be processed out of jail after you post bail or are released on your own recognizance.

That would give a Friday night DUI arrest a possible Wednesday morning/afternoon release from jail, and it happens all the time.

trench0r (profile) says:


after reading the law it seems they foresaw this eventual backlash and prepared well for it…

The owner or lessee of a facility where a motion picture is being exhibited, the authorized agent or employee of that owner or lessee, or the licensor of the motion picture being exhibited or his or her agent or employee, who alerts law enforcement authorities of an alleged violation of this Section is not liable in any civil action arising out of measures taken by that owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee in the course of subsequently detaining a person that the owner, lessee, licensor, agent, or employee, in good faith believed to have violated this Section while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement authorities …

at what point do we just hand the keys to the jail over to hollywood? I mean really at what point do we start billing David Geffen for the cops’ salaries spent on this instead of legitimate crime? Maybe if he took us ALL on a cruise…

BAlbrecht (profile) says:


The real travesty here is the fact that this is a criminal matter? I mean, really, WTF?
OK, if the theater wants to ban cameras from its property, fine–let it kick out its customers. I don’t really care.
And if the copyright holder wants to bring civil action against someone for infringement,fine. Let them bring their case in front of a judge and jury to assess the situation and render an appropriate judgement.
But to make the act *criminal*? That’s just insane, folks. On what grounds are you contending that possessing a recording device on private property is causing enough individual or societal harm that it warrants criminal punishment–even jail time? Even if this woman intended upon using her recording for commercial gain–which it certainly seems like she was not–how can you justify elevating this to the level of criminal behavior?
I’m sorry, I’m just not buying this snake oil. And my legislators know it. How the hell have we managed to let an industry subvert our justice system for their own economic benefit just boggles the mind.

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