Teen Pleads Guilty For Filming 20 Seconds Of A Movie

from the crimes-and-misdemeanors dept

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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    (except for an explicit law against it, which would stupidly contradict fair use...)

    If he paid to watch the movie and he wanted to quote and cite the movie in a conversation, school project, or even a publication, that should be just fine.

     

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    Alan McSwain (profile), Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 5:49pm

    You want reinforcement boys??? You got it.

    "...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."

    Well then, I guess this Zero Tollerace nonsense and abuse of a citizens Fair Use rights under copyright law reinforces my efforts to stay out of movie theaters, especially Regal Cinemas.

    Corporate bullies beating up on teenage girls. Proud of yourselves, boys????

     

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      Nasty Old Geezer, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 5:07am

      Re: You want reinforcement boys??? You got it.

      I see this as more about rights of the property owner. The theater charges admission and sets rules, one rule is "no filming or picture taking allowed".

      There are so many loud, rude, self-centered a-holes that I quit going to movies. Banning cell phones and camcorders is reasonable because those activities disrupt the movie for other people.

      If you need proof that you went to a movie, take a picture in the lobby standing next to a poster. If you want to cite something about the movie, get a trailer off the Internet.

      That said -- jail time for this silly girl is abysmally stupid, I guess the court figurered that out. Jail the ones that are using the promo and reviewer copies to make money.

       

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        SailorRipley, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re: You want reinforcement boys??? You got it.

        Banning ... camcorders is reasonable because those activities disrupt the movie for other people.

        really now? Then you should have no trouble explaining to me how somebody recording the movie with a camcorder, trying to be as in inconspicuous as he can as to not be caught and all, is disrupting the movie (or movie experience) for me? In fact, after you've done, explain the same thing but this time about people recording small clips (or even the movie entirely) on their cell phones...

        If they were concerned with the movie(experience) of "other" people in the theater, they would (besides not sell any noisy snacks) have started "patrolling" (like they're doing now) a long time ago to make sure people aren't noisy, don't yak on their cell phone or to each other, you know, to make sure in general the potentially loud, rude, self-centered a-holes do not disturb other movie goers

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re: You want reinforcement boys??? You got it.

        I see this as more about rights of the property owner. The theater charges admission and sets rules, one rule is "no filming or picture taking allowed".
        How about I make a rule that says anyone who steps foot on my property becomes my personal slave? Yeah! Property rights rule!

         

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    shmengie, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 5:51pm

    i'm embarrassed to be an american

    it's like we're in the dark ages of digital media:

    [monty python]nobody expects the spanish inquisition![/monty python]

    this is a knee-jerk, reactionary time in history when "BIG ENTERTAINMENT" knows that they're at the end of their life cycle and are flailing wildly in the last death-throes of money-grubbing bastardosity. fuck the riaa. fuck the mpaa. fuck the nato. donate to eff (eff.org) and help some of these victims of government sanctioned extortion, blackmail and corruption.

    (whew. i feel better now! (pardon my fucking french.))

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:00pm

    We have to get these deranged lawbreakers off the streets. Stealing 20 seconds of a movie is simply not on. The death penalty is the only answer.

    Nail 'em up I say, nail some sense into them.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 4:25am

      Re:

      I think the real issue lies with the parents. After all it is they who taught them that stealing 20 second clips is ok.

      I think we should round up these disgusting law breakers and their entire family so we can execute the lot of them and clean up our gene pool. Imagine a world without copyright infringers, what a glorious utopia it would be.

       

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    Peter, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:03pm

    perhaps it

     

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    Peter, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:04pm

    Perhaps it's a good thing

    Will the staff be moving against obnoxious cell phone users as well?

     

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    Logan6, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:08pm

    Hitler would have loved it.

     

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    Mike, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:12pm

    Popcorn, the REAL evil

    It's popcorn that's the real evil! Costs more than the actual movie, drowns out the movie when the person beside you eats it in fistfuls and provides those damned teenage girls filming 20 seconds of a movie with a place to hide the camera! I swear, all the problems would go away if we did away with movie popcorn!
    [montypython] Help! Help! I'm being repressed! Now we see the violence inherent in the system! [/montypython]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:12pm

    "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"

    Is it really that hard to distinguish the difference? Camcorder... Cellphone...

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:27pm

    So...


    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."


    So instead taking the time to tell the difference they just assume they are all trying to get the whole movie to share on the net? Last time I checked you had to prove malicious intent. Did the girl in question only take a 20 sec. clip and then put the camera away or did "some fast thinking employee stop this nefarious thief from capturing the whole film just in time to stop her from getting it out on the net"? If she was trying to get the whole movie (which means that 20sec. would have been near the first 20sec. of the movie) then I could see them going after her. But if was just recording some 20sec. bit part of the way through then all this was was a publicity stunt and the chance to strike one of those famous "significant blows" against piracy.

     

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    disturbed, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:33pm

    frivolous lawsuits

    it disturbs me to see how the movie and music industry are completely abusing the legal system in these high-profile cases where they are basically bullying young people, threatening them with jail time, and taking their money. pick on someone your own size!

     

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    Jay, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 7:45pm

    Boycott Regal Cinemas

    Apparently Regal Cinemas can't tell the difference between a kid filming 20 seconds of a movie for private useand someone pirating a movie then tell Regal Cinemas. Now tell them with your dollars that you can't tell the difference between a company that intimidates people and one that protects its intellectual property by boycoting their cinemas. Everything else is a waste of time on our part. They only understand actions that affect the bottom line.

     

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    clearjr, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 9:24pm

    Odor of a police state

    The judge should have granted summary judgment against the plaintiff. This was obviously not a crime. But it was a misapplication of the law. The odor of a police state starts in the government with secretly wiretapping private citizens calls, holding citizens and legal aliens in prison for years while suspending habeas corpus. And then it reaches even into the private sector as movie theaters arrest youngsters doing innocent things which get them arrested. Even the Supreme Court thinks a kid can be disciplined and suspended for holding up a sign off school grounds: "Bong hits for Jesus" It is disgusting and an outrage that these things can happen in the United States. Boycott Regal. Fight for our civil rights. Support the Bill of Rights.

     

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    Joe, Aug 22nd, 2007 @ 10:23pm

    Does anyone even understand how easy it is to beat the living piss out of some movie theater worker in a pitch black theater room and completely get away with it?! You can stomp him out to unconsciousness, watch/film the rest of your movie, and then just drive home like nothing happened. Especially if you're watching an action movie, people will just think his screams for help are merely the film's sound effects. Is he going to remember your face? No!

     

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    mike allen, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 1:03am

    ever heard

    fair usage 30 sec of film i think is the allowed so why is she paying. Tell the B******s to stick it I would come you **** pick on someone who dont care about your rules.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 4:15am

    ..but seriously, folks..

    We hope 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.

    No, really, where did fair use go? Does this not fall under fair use? I seriously thought it did... I understand it can be against theater policy and get you kicked out, but against the law?? I guess that's why IANAL. :)

    At any rate, she'll learn her lesson-- next time she should just download the High Def version and use a clip from that, apparently it's safer.

     

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    Anonymous Jerk, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 5:10am

    RE: Boycott Regal Cinemas

    I've already avoided a couple shows at Regal Cinemas, since I heard this crap originally. And, I'll continue to do so.

    AND I'll boycott any OTHER theatres that decide to bully inocent people who have never had anything else on their record, and now have this crap, over filming 0.3% of a movie (yes, three tenths of one percent of the total movie).

     

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    Curt, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:45am

    what happened to common sense ?

    Take the phone away, make her leave the theatre, erase the clip, give back the phone, get on with your life.

     

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    RandomThoughts, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 9:02am

    Curt, it wasn't a phone, it was a Canon Powershot.

    This was a stupid case, but its also not too bright to whip out a Canon in a theater (unless you use it against people talking on their cell phone)

     

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    qkslvrwolf, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    What a great scam!

    Jeez! How sweet would that be? You're a teenager, working at a theatre. Convince your friends to film a movie on their cell-phone, catch them, they please guilty and get a $71 slap on the wrist, you make $200 each! wash, rinse, repeat. Sounds awesome!

     

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