As the Chicago Sun-Times has reported, Samantha Tumpach was attending her sister's birthday party at the theater, and had been taping the festivities, including singing "Happy Birthday." While fiddling with her new digital camera, she noticed how clear video was during the ads before New Moon, and subsequently ended up with two "very short segments" of the film totaling less than four minutes. A worker spotted her with the camera, and theater managers insisted she be arrested. The 22-year-old spent two nights in jail, and was charged "with a rarely invoked felony designed to prevent movie patrons from recording hot new movies and selling bootleg copies."
Obviously, this was a poor decision on her end to even dare videotape at all in the theater, but it seems a little harsh that a girl who taped two short segments on a small digital camera with video capabilities would get the full arm of the law. She obviously wasn't trying to bootleg it (we don't think), and the worst offense seems more like annoying the rest of the patrons there, chatting and playing around with her camera rather than watching the movie. Banned from theater or fined for stupidity? Sure. Jail time with the possibility of up to three years behind bars? That seems a bit harsh.
What do you think about this whole piracy thing? Where should the line be drawn, and what should the punishment be?