In a recent story picked up by the Associated Press, a young girl of 19 was brought up on charges for recording twenty seconds of the popular Transformers movie. The reason: she wanted to show her little brother something. And while she admitted to recording the brief twenty second clip, she did assert that she had no intention of reselling the material.
So, for recording a brief twenty second clip, what can the poor girl expect in punishment? Up to one year in the slammer and a $2,500 fine! Oh, and in case you're wondering, there are people getting no jail time today for abusing women and children or driving while under the influence of alcohol. Something just doesn't sound right here does it?
I am absolutely appalled at the actions of Regal Cinema. I understand the law enforcement community is just doing its job by bringing up charges, but is Regal serious? How can the company take a young girl with a bright future and drop the most outrageous and serious criminal charges on her for a twenty second clip?
It's even debatable as to whether or not she was wrong. A twenty second clip may not be violating fair use and chances are she wasn't recording the movie in HD or anything, so the degradation in quality -- probably attributed to her cell phone -- could negate any argument the company has against her. Even so, it's a 19-year old girl for crying out loud!
Whatever happened to going after the real bad guys? The fact that a young girl who recorded a twenty second clip of a movie can go to jail for up to a year and face a $2,500 fine is disgusting. And while murderers roam our streets and people get off easy for crimes that do far more damage to people, we have a young girl who is truly scared for her well-being over the next year. Did that twenty second clip cost the director and producers of Transformers any money? Was it somehow contributing to the loss of millions of box office or DVD sales? Plain and simple, was someone hurt by this recording?
If those answers can't be answered, there is only one solution: tell Regal Cinemas and the rest of the industry to stick it.