Early this week we brought to your attention the case of Samantha Tumpach who was caught taping approximately 3 minutes of New Moon footage in a Chicago area movie theater. What came to light was that she wasn’t actually intending to tape the movie, but rather people in her group who were there to celebrate a birthday party, and the movie was basically background footage.
She spent two days in jail, for the crime when the movie theater alerted local police. Apparently, the crime, though inadvertent, was a felony. Personally we thought jail time was a little harsh. We could understand a fine, community service, something like that. It wasn’t as if the woman was taping in order to distribute. Now granted, pulling out a video camera in the middle of a movie is ( as many of our blog commenters pointed out) distracting, bad manners, and really an amazing display of questionable judgment, but it didn’t seem jail time was warranted. Chris Weitz also agreed given the specific allegations.
Now the Sun Times is reporting that, “A Chicago woman arrested for illegally videotaping the movie “Twilight: New Moon” got a happy ending to her story Friday when Cook County prosecutors abruptly dropped the felony charge filed against her.
Samantha Tumpach would have faced up to three years in prison if she had been convicted of copying three minutes of the film during a Nov. 28 trip to the Muvico Theater in Rosemont.”
EDITED: Summit Entertainment has now issued a statement regarding the incident: “In regards to the situation with Samantha Tumpach, we applaud Muvico for upholding the zero tolerance policy on piracy when the incident occurred at their theater in Rosemont, IL. The pirating of films is a very serious issue and we all need to remain vigilant to protect the art of film and the myriad of businesses that the film industry supports. We believe that the attention that this incident has drawn, has served as a reminder to us all that any form of film piracy, or perceived piracy, will be treated with the utmost seriousness. Summit is pleased that all charges against Ms. Tumpach have been dropped and appreciate the efforts of the police and the prosecutors in this outcome.”