Via memeorandum I ran across this piece and I really do not have any commentary for it, but I am curious as to what other people think, just for the sake of curiosity alone.
The questions to answer after reading about this are:
#1. Are they being too harsh on the girl?
#2. Are laws ok to be broken if it is not for a malicious purpose?
#3. If you were the theater or the police, how would you have handled this?
#4. Where do we draw the line between breaking the law and an innocent mistake?
Simple questions and I prefer not to give my answers yet because I am curious how these will be answered by my readers.
Here is the story:
Jhannet Sejas and her boyfriend were celebrating her 19th birthday by taking in a matinee showing of the hit movie "Transformers" at the theater at Ballston Common mall.
Sejas was enjoying the movie so much that she decided to film a short clip of the sci-fi adventure's climax to get her little brother hyped to go see it.
Minutes later, two Arlington County police officers were pointing their flashlights at the young couple in the darkened theater and ordering them out. They confiscated the digital camera as evidence and charged Sejas, a Marymount University sophomore and Annandale resident, with a crime: illegally recording a motion picture.
"I was terrified," said Sejas, her voice breaking. "I was crying. I've never been in trouble before." She said the assistant manager of the theater saw her holding up the Canon Power Shot and reported it to the general manager, who called police.
Sejas said she had no intention of selling the 20-second film clip. She just wanted to show it to her 13-year-old brother, who had said he wanted to see the movie. She was shocked when the officers showed up.
Sejas faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 when she goes to trial this month in the July 17 incident. Arlington police spokesman John Lisle said it was the decision of Regal Cinemas Ballston Common 12 to prosecute the case, a first for Arlington police.
"They were the victim in this case, and they felt strongly enough about it," he said. The general manager of Regal Cinemas declined to comment yesterday.
Movie pirating cost the industry $18.2 billion worldwide in 2005, the last year for which figures were available, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Moviegoers are increasingly carrying cellphones, digital cameras and other devices capable of recording.
"Ninety percent of recently released films that are pirated are done by camcording in movie theaters," said Kori Bernards, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America. "It's happening all over. And there's been a rash of camcording in the Washington area of late."
I am deliberately leaving the picture of the girl out of this post because often people see someone and come to snap judgments, sooooooo, what are YOUR answers to the questions above?
Comment at will.