A 19-year-old woman is facing up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,500 when she goes to trial this month on charges of illegally recording part of a motion picture.
Jhannet Sejas [pictured right] readily admits she used her digital camera last month in an Arlington theater to film about 20 seconds of the climax of the hit movie “Transformers.” She said she wanted to show the clip to her little brother and had no intention of selling it.
But minutes after filming the clip, police showed up in the theater, shining a flashlight in her face. Sejas and her boyfriend were ordered out, and the camera was confiscated.
Sejas said the theater’s assistant manager saw her holding up the digital camera and reported it to the general manager, who called police.
The Marymount University sophomore was charged with a misdemeanor and was banned for life from the Regal Cinemas Ballston Common movie theaters.
“I was terrified,” Sejas said. “I was crying. I’ve never been in trouble before.”
Arlington County police spokesman John Lisle said the theater wanted to prosecute the case, which is a first for the police department.
“They were the victim in this case, and they felt strongly enough about it,” Lisle said.
A phone message seeking comment from Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal Entertainment Group was not immediately returned.
“I’ve heard of people’s devices being confiscated, or them being kicked out of the theater,” said Jason Schultz, a staff lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which specializes in digital rights issues. “This is the first criminal arrest for someone filming for personal use that I know of.”
Sejas’ attorney, Sandy Hughes, said she hopes she can resolve the case before it goes to trial Aug. 21.
It’s nice to see that the Arlington Police Department has nothing better to do.
For those that want to give Regal a piece of their mind:
Regal Entertainment Group corporate offices are located at 7132 Regal Lane, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37918. Our phone number is 1-865-922-1123 and our fax number is 1-865-922-3188. Our customer relations number is 877-TELLREGAL or 1-877-835-5734. Our investor hotline is 1-866-REGALEG or 1-866-734-2534. For press inquiries call 1-865-925-9539. For more information about Regal Entertainment Group, visit our Investor Relations area.