Teen Pleads Guilty In "20 Seconds Of Transformers" Piracy Case

The teenager who was arrested for filming 20 seconds of Transformers on her Canon Powershot camera (a still camera that takes short movies) has plead guilty to the charges, says Wired’s Threat Level blog.

They also report that the prosecutor in the case was pressured by the theater chain to set an example with the 19-year-old.

From Threat Level:

“What they were saying, ‘Could you get her to admit that it wasn’t right.’ They wanted to make sure the message gets out,” Trodden [prosecutor] said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “This was kind of trying to address the concerns of the theater people, and the fact that it was not an outrageous crime.”

Jhannet Sejas, 19, pleaded guilty last week in Arlington County General District Court to one misdemeanor count of filming a motion picture in a movie house owned by Regal Cinemas. The statute, like the 37 others nationwide sponsored by the motion picture industry, deems filmgoers guilty for filming a “portion” or a “portion thereof” of a movie.

“I totally forgot that I was not allowed to do that,” Sejas said Wednesday. “I did it without thinking clearly.

We are not ashamed to admit that we had literally no clue that one could face a year in jail and a fine of $2,500 for filming a small clip of a movie with a still camera or a cellphone camera. No idea.

Sejas agreed to pay $71 in court costs and will have the conviction removed if she “keeps her nose clean,” says the prosecutor.

World’s Largest Theater Chain Pressured Prosecutor to Charge Teen for Filming 20 Seconds of Transformers [Threat Level] (Thanks, Jeff!)

PREVIOUSLY: Regal Cinemas Facing Boycott After Pressing Charges Again Teen “Pirate”

Teen Faces Charges For Recording 20 Seconds of “Transformers”

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  1. LionelEHutz says:

    The between the RIAA and the MPAA, the recording and film industries seem to be hellbent on alienating their customers. I could see prosecuting a person for filming an entire movie, but 20 seconds? Give me a break.

  2. RandomHookup says:

    That’s one old looking teen.

  3. ARPRINCE says:

    @RandomHookup: lol

    She’s hot though.
    [crunchgear.com]

  4. gibsonic says:

    if you want a teen, see the AT&T iphone post. video included.

  5. rbf2000 says:

    I love the fact that the prosecutor basically just let her off. At least they realize how preposterous the whole matter is.

  6. Cowboys_fan says:

    I feel so bad for this girl, the idea as a whole is so ridiculous. I know its a crime, but so is jay-walking and when is the last time someone was convicted on that? The law itself is attrocious, they can put cameras on street corners but you can’t film a minute of a movie = lame.

  7. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @RandomHookup: Could be progeria.

  8. sleze69 says:

    This is absurd. Video taping a movie in a movie theater is illegal…unless you’re pointing it at the audience…then it’s security.

  9. MeOhMy says:

    Like I said in the previous posts – no way the theater could drop the charges, no way she would actually get the maximum penalty.

  10. axiomatic says:

    Wow, the MPAA should be ashamed of themselves. Really what is ruined/violated/damaged by a 20 second clip?

    And don’t say “well its the law” because you officious types make me vomit.

    That goodness she got of easy and if I were her I would NEVER SPEND ANOTHER DIME ON MPAA PRODUCTS.

    Fool me once, damn you, fool me twice, DAME ME!

  11. axiomatic says:

    I should have said “Really what is ruined/violated/damaged by a 20 second clip THAT SHE DIDN’T EVEN ATTEMPT TO DISTRIBUTE!?!”

  12. crnk says:

    How is this a consumer issue? It is a legal issue…and it is pretty hard to deny filming part of a movie when you’ve been busted.
    And, more importantly….since when does “I forgot I couldn’t do it” make any sort of a valid argument to a court.
    Lastly, I was reading an article several days ago…maybe on here…where there was a discussion of companies that lost various patents and other intellectual property because they failed to prevent others from copying. Imagine if a studio let a movie get copied for years–openly and then tried to take everyone to court about it…i’m not sure they would win.
    This does differ from RIAA, because here, someone was actually physically caught in the act. A set of IP numbers is pretty dubious, but a kid with a camcorder isn’t so much.

  13. MeOhMy says:

    @axiomatic:

    And don’t say “well its the law” because you officious types make me vomit.

    If only those officious types could make people actively participate in the legislative process instead of just vomiting…maybe it would help prevent or overturn laws purchased by industrial lobby groups. Probably not, but it would be nice if the internet grousing was backed by real action.

  14. warf0x0r says:

    I will say this, kids and cellphones/cameras are getting ridiculously annoying. Texting and talking through the movies and snapping pictures that probably look like crap. Still for a huge corporation to go after one person like this is a little bit much, but I’d expect the judge to impose a small fine and let the person know they’re getting off easy this time and it could be worse for anyone else next time.

    Bottom line, turn of your mobile devices when going to a movie! You might as well watch what you paid to see!

  15. Red_Eye says:

    @sleze69: Yeah I am sure the night vision camera facing the knees of all those film goers will never be used for anything inappropriate. Just remember ladies, always sit like a lady even if your in a lead box because you never know what perv has a camera.

  16. emax4 says:

    This was a Canon Powershot camera, not a cellphone with a built-in camera either. I think if the theater didn’t make a big deal about it, it would have slipped past the RIAA.


    I agree this is a bit much. I mean, 20 seconds? What about on America’s Funniest home videos where a dog is watching a dog on TV and tries to go after it? You never hear of the producer’s of the TV program sue the person who taped their dog watching the program.


    I see that theater closing soon if the community rallies in favor of the teen. Way to shoot themselves in the foot.

  17. E-Bell says:

    I am stunned, though not surprised, that the movie industry has successfully lobbied several states to make this a crime. Whatever happened to pursuing the already-existing civil remedy?

    I am even more stunned that the prosecutor’s office chose to pursue it.

  18. sleze69 says:

    @E-Bell: When the movie you spent $100 million appears on bittorrent the day after it premiers, you too would want the people who made it prosecuted as “theives”

  19. How, exactly, does a theater chain pressure a prosecutor to do anything? What could they have actually done to him had he not gone foward with the case?

  20. teqsundotcom says:

    @LionelEHutz:
    How can you “forget” that it was against the law… thats like some street corner dealer saying “oops I forgot that selling crack was illegal”

    wake up kids

  21. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @axiomatic:

    I’m of the same opinion you are but I can’t help but get a chuckle out of the slight irony between your statement & your nick on these forums.

  22. lincolnparadox says:

    @ARPRINCE: Agreed.

    @emax4: Personally, I hope that they boycott Regal Cinemas. The legal code is voluminous, and people break the law all of the time. In most cases, even if a police officer catches you, if the infraction is minor your are warned and sent on your way.

    Regal decided to push the issue as far as possible. Once the DA is involved, court is inevitable. Why did Regal Theatres decide to be the biggest asshole possible? Maybe the girl or her friends were bad patrons (disruptive or whatever)? Maybe Regal Cinemas hates teens/Latinas/women? Maybe they just wanted the MPAA reward money?

    Regardless, emax4 is 100% right. Somebody is going to protest. Just another nail in the movie theatre coffin.

  23. JosephFinn says:

    Oh good, they gave her a reasonable sentence for a first offense. But let’s not keep blah-blahing about how “they were hard on her” or “not really a crime” or some such like that. Companies have a right to protect their property from being stolen, and they were right to prosecute (that said, the maximum year in jail set by that locale is just stupid and the judge gave her a quite reasonable sentence).

  24. Amelie says:

    CRNK said, “How is this a consumer issue?
    One of the reasons I read this site is to know which companies I want to patronize and which ones I want to avoid, badmouth or boycott.

  25. Buran says:

    Spineless people like this kid who claim “guilt” for something that is a fair use allowance are why the government tromps all over common sense.

    Good going, kid. Thanks to what you’ve done, in the future the government is not going to feel hesitant about putting people who take pictures of something someone doesn’t like photos of in jail — those overcrowded jails from which violent criminals get released because there’s no space left. Criminals who harm and kill people.

  26. Buran says:

    @JosephFinn: Uh … nothing was stolen. Next time you decide to accuse someone of something, make sure you accuse them of the right thing.

  27. theWolf says:

    I have a Canon Powershot and, while I like the camera, there is no way it can produce a reasonable quality of movie or clip that would financially threaten the makers of this movie.

    That said, what she did was a violation. If I were say, a musician, and someone filmed me performing and sold copies of the performance, I’d have a reasonable expectation that the law would protect what is essentially my property. Just because this involves a big awful corporation, they should reasonably expect the same protection. I think it’s fair to stop her and exact some punishment.

    But everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath here. The kid isn’t selling state secrets. She paid a $71 fine. That sounds about right.

    Next up, getting her to discontinue the brutal spelling of her name, Jhannet.

  28. killavanilla says:

    @sleze69:
    I agree – If I spend $100 million making a movie, I WOULD be pissed if it leaked onto bittorrent.
    But what does THAT have to do with THIS?
    The girl used a still camera that is capable of 20 second, low quality video capture.
    She isn’t the person (or the type of person) who put it on bittorrent.
    This is a silly case that I’m quite sure the prosecuters (and apparently the judge) thought was silly and a waste of time.
    Our justice system is crowded and court time is at a premium and this movie house wants to prosecute stupidity like this?
    What possible damages could come from this for the movie house if she WAS to post 20 seconds from a bad camera? None. If anything, it would SPARK INTEREST.
    The problem here isn’t pirating, it is Executives with advanced degrees that were conferred before technology like the internet and digital camera’s/video camera’s were available.
    So these genius’ who don’t understand the digital age don’t know how to use the internet to their advantage and business slumps.
    Only now are they just starting to understand the power and speed of the internet. It’s too bad they don’t understand how they can use it to their advantage.
    I fully expect the music and movie industry to suffer until the old fogeys with their antiquated business practices step aside and allow a younger generation that actually understands the technology to take over and bring the industries back up to par.
    The sad thing is that too many people are too quick to point at a 19 year old girl and her crappy digital camera and say “She is responsible for copyright infringement and the bittorrent of the movie. PIRATE!”
    Bull squeeze.
    I don’t buy it.
    Worst case scenario, she shows it to a few friends who say “Meh. Looks crappy. I won’t see the movie.” Best case scenario? It generates some buzz and people who may not have gone to see it change their mind and go.
    But the absolute worst thing that can happen?
    Guys like me hear about this malicious prosecution and choose NOT to see the movie until it shows up on cable and makes the conscious decision not to frequent Regal cinemas.
    I have gone in the past to regal, but they won’t get another dollar out of me until and unless they apologize to this girl for making a mountain out of a molehill.
    And by the way, why is the movie theater prosecuting this ‘crime’ while the movie maker (universal) not? It seems to me that Regal isn’t likely to lose any business off of some kid and her camera.
    But then again, they just did.

  29. jaredgood1 says:

    Theatres need bouncers. Not cameras. Not some nicely worded suggestion at the beginning of the movie. Bouncers. Big ones with tattoos and 2x4s. Saves on court fees and also discourages dumbasses like her (yes, she is a dumbass).

  30. esqdork says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Try jaywalking in Seattle. A cop will pull you aside and lecture you.

  31. krom says:

    Someday they will invent electronic, digital prosthetic eyes which will offer sight to the blind.

    And those poor bastards probably won’t be able to go to a movie theater.

    Or the poor bastards will have to wear some sort of DRM in their head for the rest of their lives.

  32. multiplyfunction says:

    i wouldn’t be surprised if Regal Entertainment Group paid/pressured the involved parties to just allow this example to easily be made… to make sure the “message gets out” that she admitted that “it wasn’t right.”

  33. lemur says:

    @sleze69: There was no proof that the kid was going to take that 20 sec clip and put it on the web.

    My problem is with this law that makes it automatic that *any* recording in a theater is illegal, no matter the circumstances. That’s a serious attack on fair use.

    Even if this kind of stupid law were to be removed, copyright law already has provisions for people who want to record an entire movie and post a torrent for it. The problem with is that without this moronic law, the burden of proof would be on the media companies. What this idiotic law does is that it relieves media companies from the necessary research to mount a real copyright case.

    Basically, the only reason that kind of law is on the books is because of politicians pandering to the media companies.

  34. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran:

    Spineless people like this kid who claim “guilt” for something that is a fair use allowance are why the government tromps all over common sense.
    Good going, kid. Thanks to what you’ve done, in the future the government is not going to feel hesitant about putting people who take pictures of something someone doesn’t like photos of in jail — those overcrowded jails from which violent criminals get released because there’s no space left. Criminals who harm and kill people

    Tough talk from someone who is not facing $1000 fine, 1 year in jail and the cost of legal fees. Are you volunteering to be the John Scopes of fair use?

  35. racerfan says:

    MULTIPLYFUNCTION – Regal probably hammered the prosecutor to go after this kid, to get the prosecutor to do the dirty work and deal with the headlines.

    Someone earlier asked about Regal going the civil route.

    Imagine the headlines…

    “Theater chain sues teen over 20 second video clip…” instead of “Teen charged by prosecutor with whatevertheheck crime…”

    Regal can claim they didn’t go after the teen; it was the prosecutor enforcing a law on the books.

    Folks need to vent their anger at both Regal and the MPAA…

  36. arachnophilia says:

    $71 in court costs and the conviction removed!

    that’s just awesome. sorry MPAA, it IS a crime BUT apparently it’s about the equivalent of forgetting to pay for your skittles at the concession stand.

  37. Jon Parker says:

    You people are missing the point. If they allowed people to do this, then all someone would have to do is get together 10,000 friends and all shoot a 20 second clip, spend seven or eight hours pasting the clips together, and then they’d have an entire movie that they could post on the internet tubes for FREE.

    Throw the book at her, I say.

  38. gibsonic says:

    i’d like to point out that she has a really jacked up name…especially for an asian chick.

  39. b612markt says:

    i think it’s pretty lame that she recorded even 20 seconds. She had to take the camera out of her bag/pocket, turn it on, aim it at the screen and hit the record button.

    why can’t she wait 2 weeks to get it on bit torrent like the rest of us?

    (btw, i saw txformers in the theatre, and it was awesome!)

  40. dualityshift says:

    @ARPRINCE: so right.

  41. axiomatic says:

    @JAYSYN

    My “Axiomatic” forum name is actually a hold over from an MMORPG I used to play and the characters name was “Axiomatic Liar”.

    So in effect “The whole world knows its 100% fact that I’m lying.”
    ;-)

    Back on point, thanks for the support, this is an embarrassment for the MPAA. They lose “street cred” on this one.

  42. Falconfire says:

    We are not ashamed to admit that we had literally no clue that one could face a year in jail and a fine of $2,500 for filming a small clip of a movie with a still camera or a cellphone camera. No idea.

    You cant thats the joke. If its under 30 seconds then there is no law violation. They are pulling a fast one on the poor girl to set a example, legally she was ok in doing it and the chain broke the law.

  43. crnk says:

    @zouxou:
    eh, to some extent you may be right, but a company pulling a lawsuit out to protect its investment is usually only seen as bad if it is the RIAA, MPAA, or an airline.
    In this case, the MPAA is considered awful because they are trying to prevent piracy by starting at the smallest infractions.
    Imagine if an airline sued a passenger for forcing an emergency landing due to a drunken stupor. You’d get more mixed emotions as to if the airline is due the costs incurred .
    Imagine if a mom and pop shop sued someone for vandalism and destruction of property. Everyone would be on the store’s side to recover the losses.

    So the only difference between the MPAA and the other examples are that the intention of the crime wasn’t as clear. When they’re stopping someone filming in a theater, they can’t tell if it is for personal or commercial use.

    I’d still argue that we’re talking about a criminal and not a consumer issue. Just because a company uses the power it was given doesn’t mean it is inherently evil/bad.

  44. axiomatic says:

    @JON PARKER

    Are you serious? I sincerely hope not. I find it hard to believe that you would ruin a young kids future work career (by having a conviction on their record) for a 20 second poor quality clip on a consumer electronic camera that at best can only record 30 seconds at a time. And if you ARE the kind of guy that would do this, please stay away from my kids with your overinflated sense of justice.

  45. MeOhMy says:

    @Falconfire: Uhhh…no. She was not legally OK. Not even remotely.

    Steel_Pelican posted the link to the VA law in the previous update. Here it is again.

    If you are thinking of fair use, there is no magic 30-second rule either.

  46. crnk says:

    @Falconfire:
    How is 30 seconds not a legal violation? What is the time point at which there is a legal violation?
    I’d really like to know….
    plus, there is little to no information that she was intending to stop or had already stopped.

    ps, tell a police officer with a ticket that you were “only speeding for 30 seconds” and see what response you get.

  47. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: The Scopes trial was a sham and a setup and was very deliberate. And yes, I stand by what I said. If people whose “no” counts do nothing, we are all in trouble.

  48. mechanismatic says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Just to play devil’s advocate, jaywalking probably isn’t a crime. It might be an offense for which you can be cited, but usually the term ‘crime’ is reserved for offenses for which jail time is a possible punishment.

  49. adamondi says:

    Hmmm. As a result of reading this story, I will be heading home tonight and setting off on a spree of Bittorrent downloads. I am so glad that they made an “example” of that girl.

    Next up on the “example” checklist: amputating hands for sampling produce at the supermarket.

  50. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran:
    You seem quite happy to point the finger at a 19-year-old girl who – for reasons that should be obvious – jumped at the opportunity to make the whole bizarre nightmare go away for the bargain-basement price of $71.

    Since you don’t seem to mind the potential consequences, it sounds to me like you’re just the person to deliberately run afoul of this law so that it can be fought in court…just like a certain schoolteacher.

    You stand by what you said, but you didn’t answer the question:

    Are you volunteering?

  51. Falconfire says:

    @Troy F.: @crnk: Maybe true but in this case Federal law trumps any law some redneck state makes.

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include –

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    Any one of those reasons the girl could have given as the reason why she recorded the little bit and it would have been legal to do so. In particular 3 and 4 are most important, since it deals with the “amount” (IE the length of time that was recorded) and the nature (the fact that the amount recorded had no significant bearing on the work, IE she wasnt recording a plot point or the exposition, just a fight scene)

    VA can make all the laws they want, but federally she was protected by law in doing what she did, as long as she was not recording the whole movie to put it up on a website.

    To make it even more clear to you MPAA lackys. Most court cases pertaining to what happened here end with the judge not even ruling on the case and just throwing it out. Sandoval v. New Line Cinema Corp., 147 F.3d 215 (2d Cir. 1998)

  52. BrockBrockman says:

    So, the MPAA gets to send a tough message to the kids.

    I just wanted to say that the Regal employees and cinema owner, along with the Virgina prosecutor, not to mention the lawmakers who passed this law, are all a bunch of tools.

  53. BrockBrockman says:

    @Falconfire: I still think there is a very good argument that VA law is preempted by Federal Copyright law.

    $71 and a slap on the wrist? Any lawyer would have recommended taking that deal, no questions asked. The MPAA and the Commonwealth of Virgina were dying to get rid of this case. Why do you think that is? Perhaps because their law might be invalid?

  54. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @adamondi:

    Make sure you burn multiple copies of the movies to hand out to your friends & co-workers. The MPAA *loves* that!

  55. kahri says:

    What’s sad about this story is that MPAA has only succeeded in stopping teenagers with point&click cams or cameraphones from recording 5fps clips of movies. When was the last time you heard of a REAL pirateer getting charged for filming @ a theater? And yet there’s more torrents than ever. Do they really think that they’re now shaking in their boots? That’s like cadillac thinking they’re snubbing auto thieves by charging a kid who stole a hood ornament. Look the girl did wrong, but at the end of the day, nothing but a waste of tax money was accomplished.

  56. kahri says:

    And someone please commit some serious crimes in VA so the DA has something to do.

  57. The Dude says:

    I can only imagine the degredation in quality… I feel bad for that SD card.

  58. slungsolow says:

    I love how everyone here acts like real pirates use shoulder mounted high definition cameras with gyroscopic image stabilization.

    please. these laws are in place to stop people from doing one thing – making illegal copies of movies. the girl was dumb, she admits as much. she didn’t have to do a year in prison, she didn’t get a million dollar fine. she was sent on her merry way. does this mean that regal cinema is gonna think twice about stopping some idiot with a cybershot from ruining the theater going experience for others? nope.

    I can only hope they nail the next bastard who throws up a bright LCD screen in the middle of the rahter comfortable stadium seating.

  59. Amelie says:

    @ CRNK
    All your explanations in regards to the company’s rights and assumptions as to who is painted as the bad guy, doesn’t make this any less of a consumer issue for people like me. I read this site to find out about how companies treat consumers. Just because you feel they’re justified, doesn’t mean I don’t find them petty. Neither one of us is going to convince the other in regards to this.

    A question we could probably agree on is why are irrelevant comments like this allowed on this site:“i’d like to point out that she has a really jacked up name…especially for an asian chick.” “That’s one old looking teen.” “Could be progeria.” “She’s hot though.”

  60. armour says:

    hey now they are protecting their copy wrights Just think about it another 359 20 second clips and a recording of audio a few hours of editing you could have the entire movie leaked on the internet!!!!!!!!

    This is the exact thing the keeps pushing people away from spending their money on products and finding alternative means. It’s no fun to spend hard earned dollars and be looked and at the same time be looked at a potential criminal.

  61. gibsonic says:

    @zouxou:

    someone needs to bring some levity to all this self-righteous BS.

  62. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: I am not going to deign to partake in a straw-man fingerpoint.

    And yes, I will blame those who further the degradation of our society when it is deserved.

  63. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran: This word “straw man”…I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I’m not refuting anything you said, I’m pointing out that if you’re going to call someone else “spineless” for taking the opportunity to get off easy, you should be willing to step up to the plate yourself.

    @Falconfire: Federal law only trumps state law when there is a conflict. Whether a law that simply bans operation of a recording device inside a theater without permission conflicts with any federal law is something that only real lawyers and judges can sort out in court.

    More importantly, though, go re-read what you posted. Does it say ANYTHING about recordings less than 30 seconds automatically being OK? Everyone needs to read and understand that text because people constantly throw around “fair use” having no idea what it really means. There is no fixed time limit.

    BTW, she did declare her intent and it did not really fit with any of the fair use criteria.

  64. MrEvil says:

    At least the prosecutor has read the Bill of rights recently. The Punishment was more than appropriate to the severity of the offense. $71 for the court costs and no permanent record isn’t a bad deal IMO.

  65. crnk says:

    @zouxou:
    Yes, I will agree with you about irrevelant comments and off the wall stuff that gets posted sometimes.

    So, one of the first things I ask when I see anything being said about a company is….”how valid is the complaint?” And, in some cases (iphone huge bills), while the company is charging a whole lot of money–they are justified in doing so under the contract, the person is just upset because they didn’t care enough to look into the expenses, and ATT has been kind enough to give favorable billing adjustments.

  66. crnk says:

    @Troy F.:
    Bravo…thanks for pointing out to everyone that fair use is no the same as “i wanted to show my friends/i’m just watching it at home” excuse that people think it means.

    @Falconfire:
    It either is or isn’t fair use….and in this case it clearly wasn’t.
    You state that “In particular 3 and 4 are most important, since it deals with the “amount” and the nature”
    I will disagree with you fully on this. I think the purpose of use is by far the most important consideration in looking at a copyright case. Think of a teacher who copied chapters or entire short stories, but did so because it was educational and from a difficult to purchase book.
    Then consider someone who copied half of the material in a book, but did so for a commercial purpose.
    A court would have a much harder time trying to nab someone with an educational or nonprofit intent than someone who “only copied some”

  67. Eliamias says:

    If only she had shot 10 more seconds. Then they could have charged her with marketing. I understand protecting your property, but 20 seconds is a fraction of a trailer which they don’t even distribute freely, but they PAY for the distribution.

    Granted this is a contiguous, 20-second clip as opposed to 5 4-second clips and while the letter of the law says that what was done was right, I’m sorry but in practice, this just seems absurd.

    And as for what can be revealed in a 20 second clip, it’s Transformers, itself a Michael Bay movie. Things blow up, full stop. 20 seconds shows the whole plot right there.

  68. Buran says:

    @TROY F.: We aren’t talking about me, though. That’s a tactic used by people who don’t want the discussion to stay where it is. We are talking about how we’ve got to stop letting corporate interests step all over our rights and how we need to let some damn common sense into things. And until things change, I will not change my view of those who don’t have the guts to stand up and say “No more”. This person didn’t. I do not respect her.

  69. Javert says:

    @Buran: “Fair Use” Buran would you PLEASE stop using that phrase when you have no clue what it means?

    @Falconfire: As was pointed out by Falconfire the law states:

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include –

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    Now both of you have to read the law because neither of you got fair use correct. Look at the first paragraph. There are factors to look at before you can even get to 1-4. Was the work for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research?” Ummm..NO.

    Please stop arm-chair lawyering. It is clear from the posts that either you are really bad lawyers or don’t know how to read a law or both.

    Allow me to explain: Fair Use was included as a way to allow public critique, discussion, etc. of a copyrighted work while including a piece of the work to be used as an example. The other policy consideration was to allow copyrighted work to be used for educational purposes. Where on earth does this girl fall into this? Please, enlighten us.

    For the sake of people reading this great site, stop speaking in legal terms when you do not seem to have a clue as to what they mean. Buran, this is the 3rd time you have misused Fair Use. Stop it. Falcon, I applaud you for actually looking at the law but when reading a statute, you must start at the top and work your way down. In this case, she does not even clear the hurdles of the first paragraph. Also, she should not “just say x, y, or z” to fall within any exception. It seems you are advocating that she lie in order to get out of the trouble she created for herself.

    Ok kids, put your pencils down. Class dismissed.

  70. Javert says:

    @Falconfire: If its under 30 seconds then there is no violation???

    Where on earth did you come up with this amount of time? For what case did you pull forth black letter law that says it is ok to film 30 seconds of a movie?

    Seriously, tell me. I want to know the case. It sounds fascinating.

  71. Javert says:

    @Buran: Nothing was stolen? Seriously, do you even understand the concept of intellectual PROPERTY. It creates property out of the intangible. It allows people to bring forth their visions and ideas without fear of someone co-opting them as their own.

    So, you think there is no theft in downloading a song for which you did not pay? I mean, you didn’t physically steal anything, right?

    You see, when you make your living creating intellectual property, be it video games, music, literary works, paintings, what have you, if someone takes it or takes a piece of it, it is stealing from you.

    It seems from you understanding of ‘stealing’ there must be some sort of physical change of dominion. That is a concept that went out a long, long time ago. Also, if you have a head ache, I would not ‘have a good bleeding’ for in the 21st century, we have acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin if you are at a druggest) to cure that.

    Seriously, stop using legal terms and pretending you know the law when you don’t. If you advocate changing the law…great! Go along that path but STOP posting your incorrect interpretations of pretty basic law.

  72. duz2600 says:

    Meanwhile, huge factory ships are sitting out in international waters churning out a million copies…

    MPAA and Regal Theaters just lost thousands of paying customers.

    I was fairly pissed at all the cellphone texting during movies, anyway. Got full refunds every time. So, turn them off, idiots!

    Can grab the movies off of Pirate Bay, using Torrent. I buy the better movies when they hit the DVD market, preferring Used DVDs, at $2.49 or less.

    DRM sucks. MPAA sucks, RIAA sucks. But, in this instance, they did a favor to the paying movie buffs.

    Anyone who turns on a light source in a crowded theater needs to be arrested! I will betcha that is really what happened here. I am the person sitting behind you, who will get Management to grab your phone or cam, and they will use any law to evict you for life!

  73. egads says:

    The MPAA and RIAA are the new SS.

  74. BrockBrockman says:

    @Javert: You’re wrong.

    Let’s analyze 17 USC 107:

    The only thing the first paragraph says is “Fair use is not an infringement.” It lists a bunch of things that might be considered fair use, like criticism, comment, etc., but that list is not all-inclusive. Fair use could be things that are not listed in the first paragraph.

    Then it goes through a series of 4 factors to consider when determining fair use. I’m pretty sure she wins on 3 of the 4 (the nature of the copyrighted work definitely falls in Dreamworks’s favor).

    Her purpose was not commercial; she recorded only 20 crap-quality seconds; and this had probably zero effect on the market for the movie Transformers.

    And what was her purpose in recording it? I think she said she wanted to show the 20 second clip to her little brother to get him hyped up on the movie. Her purpose, then, was to “comment” or “criticize” the movie.

    I think those guys slinging around the term “fair use” have it right.

  75. Javert says:

    @BrockBrockman: People fail to understand the purpose of fair use. It is for public discourse. She was definately not doing this for public discourse, she was filming for her brother only, as she stated. Look at the cases, anytime fair use is upheld, it is for a public benefit, i.e. discourse. All this did was show her brother a part of the movie. I am curious as to what cases to which you refer which expand upon these areas…if you tell me them, I will glady admit my mistake and back off. I do not know what they are.

    If you want to look at the factors…ok, it was not for commercial use but it also was not for education purposes; nature of the copyrighted work…a film which is given an extreme amount of protection; amount – admitedly short but if memory serves, it was substantial in that it was the climatic fight between the two main adversaries. As to the effect of the use it might have cost them one ticket buyer.

    But I still contend until you can show me cases which state otherwise that she would never get to the 4 item analysis becuase she did not record this for any public benefit. Your brother is not public. If that was the case then the whole video rental market would exist in chaos because at the beginning of every film you are informed that it is for home use, not public viewing. By that understanding, showing your bro is a home private use, ergo non public and hence, she does not even meet one of the exceptions.

    Again, if you know of a case where she either meets one of the criteria by use of good analogy or the criteria stated in the first paragraph are expanded please post something here. I will always be the first to admit my wrong if it is shown to me.

    I stick by my earlier analysis of the earlier posters…first there is no bright line where less than 30 seconds is OK and second, w/r/t Buran, he has a habit of always stating things are Fair Use, which is a legal term of art, but never explaining exactly how it falls into fair use. He could do this by either analyzing the statute or, if it is not clear in the statute, the case law that supports the contention.

    Unless his goal was to say she should have argued fair use, then I would have not objections as one can argue anything they want but to keep stating that this is Fair Use without any analysis is just not a reasonable way to make a persuasive argument especially in a case such as this where the burden is totally on her to show that she did not violate the law (due to the nature of the facts of this case).

    Now please, if you know of the cases or citations that support their positions, this is the time to post them. If you are correct, it would be of great service to myself and all the readers of this post.