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”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.