by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 22nd 2007 4:29pm
Remember Jhannet Sejas, the teenager who was arrested for filming 20 seconds of a movie for the sake of showing her brother that she went to that movie? Apparently, she's agreed to plead guilty, which will get her off without any jailtime, a small $71 fine and an agreement to stay out of trouble for a year (afterwards, the misdemeanor will be taken off her record). It's unclear what this has really accomplished for the movie industry, other than highlighting that you better be careful not to take out a camera in a movie theater. A spokesman for the National Association of Theater Owners admits that it's hard for theater owners to police whose filming a movie for distribution and who's just doing it for fun, but then goes on to say that this case "reinforces our efforts to educate the public that unauthorized recording, whether a clip or the whole film, in movie theaters is against the law." Actually, it doesn't do that. It reinforces that theaters have a bunch of ridiculous and costly policies that likely cost more to implement (the article notes that they're rewarding theater employees $500 for each person they catch, which explains why you'll be seeing a lot more theater workers in night vision goggles). However, given that most of the movies you find online are actually leaked by industry insiders rather than camcorded versions (which tend not to be very good anyway), shouldn't there be someone doing a cost-benefit analysis on this? It seems like the educational campaign is quite expensive, makes the theater owners look like a bunch of bullies, and does little to nothing to stop movies from showing up online. Update: Apparently Regal Cinemas pushed hard to prosecute her. How nice of Regal Cinemas.
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