Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Woman Arrested for Filming Twilight; Sues

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 51 comments

An Illinois woman is suing her local movie theater for having her arrested after she allegedly tried to pirate a Twilight movie.

I was at the Karate Kid a couple of weeks back and the woman next to me was filming random, 5-minute segments of the movie on her BlackBerry. Considering she, realistically, only had about 15 minutes of Jaden Smith (coupled with the fact that her boyfriend looked he was all set for a parking lot throwdown with a pasty-skinned Irish girl), I kept quiet.

It turns out my friend from the movie theater isn't alone in her penchant for filming random parts of the movie. Last year, an Illinois woman was jailed for two days for taking out her camera on two occasions during a showing of Twilight: New Moon. Samantha Tumpach last week filed a lawsuit against the movie theater, claiming the manager pushed for her arrest despite the fact that the local police and MPAA recommended she be released.

The 22-year-old says she only filmed the opening sequence and one other scene because she wanted to capture her favorite character taking his shirt off. According to the suit, an usher came into the theater to warn Samantha and her sisters to stay in their assigned seats and said nothing when she began filming the opening credits with her camera. The usher notified her manager who went into the theater to see if Samantha was indeed filming the movie. Manager Stephen Buckus didn't see anything amiss but waited and watched until Tumpach got out her camera to film her favorite character getting his kit off. He then called the police. Ms. Tumpach was arrested and cuffed in the movie theater and then walked out by a police officer.

Tumpach says she was arrested because the manager wanted a financial reward from the MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners. Wired reports that movie theater employees get a $500 reward from the MPAA and National Association of Theater Owners if they catch a pirate and it results in a conviction. She claims this was the incentive for having her cuffed and escorted from the theater to a waiting squad car. Despite police officers recommending Buckus just ban her from the theater and destroy the data, Buckus demanded she be arrested and charged.

Once Ms. Tumpach arrived at the local station, police officers called the MPAA for advice. They explained that she had been in the theater for an hour and seven minutes and had recorded a little over three minutes of the movie. The MPAA recommended the police department destroy the 195 seconds of footage, write up an incident report and release Samantha. However, Buckus again insisted that a felony had been committed and demanded that Tumpach be charged.

Tumpach and her lawyer are seeking damages to the tune of $50,000 for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and defamation.

Full suit available here (via Wired, PDF warning).

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 35 Hide
    godwhomismike , July 6, 2010 11:22 PM
    I guess she wanted some material to rub one out to later on. Wasn't like she was planning on using the footage to profit or pirate.
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , July 6, 2010 11:30 PM
    even the mpaa recommended she be let go. that manager is a pos and hell yea i hope she wins. 50k isn't that much money. and to have a felony arrest on your record for over 10 years id freakin sue as well. so if you think she is a money grabber, why dont you go get a felony and try to get a job anywhere worth while bro.
  • 29 Hide
    alextheawesome , July 6, 2010 11:05 PM
    Whatever happened to "please turn off all cell phones and pagers"?
Other Comments
    Display all 51 comments.
  • 29 Hide
    alextheawesome , July 6, 2010 11:05 PM
    Whatever happened to "please turn off all cell phones and pagers"?
  • 21 Hide
    arael , July 6, 2010 11:09 PM
    I'm glad the police in Aus don't take advice from outside associations.

    Bloody hell, next up we will read about people getting arrested then the cops asking how much the MPAA would like to sue them for, for watching something on a TV in a shop window.
  • 1 Hide
    foscooter , July 6, 2010 11:14 PM
    Aargh! Pirating is illegal. Aaargh!

    Even 193 seconds, but I guess the rules don't apply to everyone!
  • 35 Hide
    godwhomismike , July 6, 2010 11:22 PM
    I guess she wanted some material to rub one out to later on. Wasn't like she was planning on using the footage to profit or pirate.
  • 22 Hide
    godwhomismike , July 6, 2010 11:26 PM
    I guess the burnouts the women are doing in their seats isn't enough. Seems like some want to continue the experience at home. She was probably only going to put that footage in her spank bank.
  • 31 Hide
    Anonymous , July 6, 2010 11:30 PM
    even the mpaa recommended she be let go. that manager is a pos and hell yea i hope she wins. 50k isn't that much money. and to have a felony arrest on your record for over 10 years id freakin sue as well. so if you think she is a money grabber, why dont you go get a felony and try to get a job anywhere worth while bro.
  • 17 Hide
    thegreathuntingdolphin , July 6, 2010 11:33 PM
    The amazing thing here was that the MPAA didn't want her arrested/sued/publicly humiliated/beaten/etc.

    I think the manager was a bit zealous. If she had recorded large parts of the movie I might understand because of the reward but 193 seconds...lame.

    The greatest mystery is why people continue to record movies in theaters with their cell phone....all it does is look and sound like utter crap and pisses off the other movie goers who see your obvious glow.

    I don't think this girl's case will go anywhere. In the end she did break the law and the manager has the right to press charges. I am not sure what she is trying to accomplish with all this unless she wants herself to look like even more of loser than being arrested for filming a Twilight movie. Her case will be dismissed. Although I feel jail is too tough for this, it is a felony.

    Whether her case wins or loses, the lawyer will walk away with the dough.
  • 2 Hide
    Stevemeister , July 6, 2010 11:42 PM
    The MPAA is after the real pirates - the ones who's intention is criminal to copy and make a lot of money off selling them - not some punter who makes a cellphone camera copy of something she will be able to buy as a dvd in a few months
  • 0 Hide
    Stevemeister , July 6, 2010 11:44 PM
    Meant to add - it was dumb of the theatre manager to pursue (but well within the law) but equally stupid of the woman to sue. She has actually done wrong and last time I checked criminals were not alloowed to sue because of the emotional distress they are subjected to when they are arrested. Only in the USA - the rest of the world simply cannot believe how this stuff is allowed to happen.
  • 21 Hide
    Sicundercover , July 6, 2010 11:57 PM
    For all you meat heads who keep beating the tired drum of "Its Illegal" here is some things for you to chew on.

    Alcohol used to be illegal, Black people drinking from the same water fountain as whites used to be illegal, and in some countries you can take your daughter out in the back yard and shoot her in the head if you feel she dishonored your family.

    My point? NOT ALL LAWS MAKE SENSE. This is not what copyrights were made for. They were made to prevent people from profiting from another person's work.

    How about you guys head over to the US copyright Office's website and read up on Fair Use Laws.
  • 0 Hide
    4745454b , July 7, 2010 12:01 AM
    How can the manager sue? She didn't harm or do anything bad to his theater. She didn't steal popcorn, break something in the bathroom, throw something at someone, etc. Its not the managers movie. If the "owners" of the movie, MPAA, say to let her go, why does the manager get to say no? He owns the theater, not the movie.
  • 2 Hide
    wing2010 , July 7, 2010 12:04 AM
    StevemeisterMeant to add - it was dumb of the theatre manager to pursue (but well within the law) but equally stupid of the woman to sue. She has actually done wrong and last time I checked criminals were not alloowed to sue because of the emotional distress they are subjected to when they are arrested. Only in the USA - the rest of the world simply cannot believe how this stuff is allowed to happen.


    It is because her crimal charge has been dismissed. Don't know why and really don't care.

    IMO, something really wrong with our legal system.
  • -3 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , July 7, 2010 12:09 AM
    jomofro39I really don't think she has a case here...maybe she'll meet Lindsay Lohan in prison, and the guards can film their favorite actress getting her shirt taken off...


    It's called silent mode? When was the last time you turned your phone off in a cinema?
  • 14 Hide
    mr_tuel , July 7, 2010 12:12 AM
    I don't get why anyone has to make a big deal of a cell phone flic. Since it was only random scenes, she obviously wasn't going to sell it or even p2p. That manager should loose his job for this BS.
  • -4 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , July 7, 2010 12:13 AM
    alextheawesomeWhatever happened to "please turn off all cell phones and pagers"?


    Woops cited the wrong post! durrr
  • -2 Hide
    mindspring , July 7, 2010 12:20 AM
    Where does the Manager Stephen Buckus live??
  • 2 Hide
    ithurtswhenipee , July 7, 2010 12:36 AM
    Both of these cases will get thrown out. Her case will get thrown out because she did break the law. His case will get thrown out because the MPAA and the Theater Association or whatever it is won't show up to testify against her.
Display more comments
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter