Girl jailed for piracy at New Moon screening

New Moon posterSamantha Tumpach, 22, was arrested at a Chicago movie theater for allegedly videotaping portions of the movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon, with her digital camera. Tumpach says she snapped some photos of herself and her sister in their seats with their new camera before the film started. When the lights went down, she tried to turn it off, but was unfamiliar with the settings and wound up with four minutes of video that included commercials, a conversation she had with her sister and no footage from the movie. However, a manager spotted her with the camera and called the police. She was arrested, charged with a felony, and spent two days in jail. She now faces a substantial fine or the possibility of up to three years in prison. Tumpach insists she did not intend to film the movie. The film’s director, Chris Weitz, heard about the case and has contacted the studio, saying the girl has been treated unfairly and asking if they can help her. ~Alexandra Heilbron

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Comments & Discussion

  1. beast • December 11, 2009 @ 12:50 PM

    That is rediculous

  2. Minerva • December 11, 2009 @ 12:52 PM

    Oh how ridiculous. They should be able to tell from the recorded conversation with her sister that she wasn’t able to turn the damn thing off. Only four minutes of taped material including commercials? Sounds like a witch hunt to me.
    Also, even if she had been taping on purpose, three years is way too harsh a sentence. It’s no different than shoplifting…….stealing something not paid for.

  3. kevin howells • December 11, 2009 @ 1:00 PM

    Hollywood is on track a record breaking year in box office numbers and they are still pushing the “piracy is killing us” argument so hard that they would go after this lady like this.

    I guess it is not just in their movies that they make stuff up.

  4. JAG • December 11, 2009 @ 2:36 PM

    THEY NEED TO LET HER GO, WIPE HER RECORD CLEAN AND APOLOGIZE for being so ignorant jumping to the wrong conclusion and falsely accusing her of this.

  5. jackie • December 11, 2009 @ 5:05 PM

    I think hollywood has nothing to worry about considering they make alot of money. Actors, directors and such get paid way too much.
    This is a complete misunderstanding. only four minutes, please im sure she wont be about to make a profit from that. They need to calm down.

  6. Monique • December 11, 2009 @ 6:32 PM

    I hope that movie manager guy feels like a huge peice of crap for doing this to that poor girl.
    He should be fired.


  7. mandee • December 11, 2009 @ 7:44 PM

    this is crazy. if the director has no problem with her accidentally recording some of the commercials and some of the beginning of the movie, why should anyone else? i could understand if they caught her with like the entire beginning of the movie or something. although if there IS recorded conversation between her and her sister if she couldnt turn the camera off im sure she would have said “do you know how to turn this off?” or something along those lines. but, why would one bring a camera into a movie theatre without any intentions on actually taping the movie? doesnt make sense to me why youd need pics of you and your sister sitting in a movie theatre.

  8. Minerva • December 11, 2009 @ 11:45 PM

    Mandee, she could have had the camera in her purse for any number of reasons. It was a new one and maybe she had just purchased it while shopping with her sister. Many people who go to movies together spend time talking about new purchased items while waiting for the movie to start. Maybe at that time she brought it out of her purse to fool with it and see how it worked. Maybe her sister was visiting from out of town and she’d been taking pictures of her doing things together. Just two suggestions as to why she might have had the camera with her.

  9. demigod • December 12, 2009 @ 12:15 AM

    Minerva, the reason for a stiff sentence for such an offence is due to the high resale value of owning a copy. One can make an unlimited number of copies, and PROFIT from it. Not like shoplifting at all.

  10. justin • December 12, 2009 @ 3:36 AM

    man, whoever recorded this piece of shit of movie should be jailed for life.

  11. Elizabeth • December 12, 2009 @ 4:41 AM

    I think she should be jailed or at least face a fine. I don’t believe her. This sounds like piracy and I HATE piracy. It EXACTLY like stealing and shoplifting.

    As far as I’m concerned, kudos to the theatre manager. I find they don’t catch enough of these people.

    I mean, if she really wasn’t recording intentionally, she could have just put it in her purse and it’ll just
    record nothing except for the dark. THAT I can believe.

    Or she could just snap or slide the phone shut, that usually just ends the recording function. Or just press “END” button or the turn off the phone function works to end any camera/video/game/music part of the phone. So, really, her excuse doesn’t seem credible.

    And, according to the AP though, she did have the start of the movie, so that is piracy.

  12. hmm • December 12, 2009 @ 4:00 PM

    So they booked someone who got no footage of the movie and did not intend to get any in the first place, while there were probably 50 other people in that same theater recording the actual movie who didn’t get spotted!
    I guess some people really suck at their job and other people end up paying the price for it!

  13. ke • December 12, 2009 @ 11:21 PM

    dumbest reason to be charged for. if there was no actual footage of the movie, why are they prosecuting her?

  14. HD • December 13, 2009 @ 11:14 PM

    well why didn’t fricken ticket collectors check her purse or bag to warn her about cameras ,video cameras its their job and why didn’t the check the tape sounds like all hearsay their bs vs this girl i seriously doubt she was trying to pirate the movie

  15. Costa • December 14, 2009 @ 5:56 PM

    They should pay more attention to catching pedophiles and murderes on the street than wasting time prosecuting a poor girl who didnt even intend to PIRATE a movie that has made already 400 million worldwide. Like come on seriously

  16. Carol • December 15, 2009 @ 12:08 AM

    I think they could probably tell from the recording if this were intentional or not. If it was intentional then she should be punished. And just because she can get three years doesn’t mean she will. If her record is clear aside from this she’ll probably get her wrist slapped. At least maybe she’ll read the manual for her phone and won’t have to worry about this next time. Theft is theft…perhaps the punishment needs to be altered to fit the crime but if she did it on purpose, then let her be punished. Lesson hopefully learned.

  17. demigod • December 15, 2009 @ 3:55 AM

    It’s doubtful this girl had any intent. Girls don’t have the vigilance to sit still and quiet while holding a camera steady for 2 hrs! And with a camera? Camcorders are what’s used for piracy.

  18. tributegirl • December 15, 2009 @ 11:15 AM

    demigod, I agree with your first sentence, I don’t believe there was any intent on her part, so to punish her would be pointless. I think they may be just trying to make an example out of her, which isn’t fair to her, they should be targeting and making an example out of people who are really trying to pirate these movies.

  19. silver • December 15, 2009 @ 2:32 PM

    I’m wondering how those of you who say she didn’t intend to tape the movie know this important fact.

  20. demigod • December 16, 2009 @ 2:55 AM

    Fine tg, use a camera instead. Amateur 😛

  21. tributegirl • December 16, 2009 @ 9:56 PM

    lol I have a camera, and I CAN sit still for 2 hours, I am a very patient woman!
    silver, people are just giving their opinions based on the article above, get a grip!

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