On 2nd November, 22 year-old Samantha Tumpach was out with family celebrating her sister’s 29th birthday. Like many, they chose a movie theater for the happy occasion, specifically the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, United States.
Watching ‘Twilight: New Moon’ would be an experience she’d never forget.
Camera in hand, Tumpach took pictures of her family before the movie began and recorded her relatives singing “Happy Birthday”. She also turned the camera towards the big screen, snagging small portions of adverts, previews and short sections of the movie – 4 minutes in all – accompanied by her own amateur voice-over.
Then a theater
robot worker saw what was going on, immediately recalled their MPAA programming and decided that evil had been done. Tumpach was taken to theater managers who identified her as a professional and criminal pirate. Eventually she was handed over to the police who sympathized with her situation. “They were so nice to me,” Tumpach said.
Despite this, the managers insisted on pressing charges. Tumpach spent two nights in jail, charged with criminally recording a motion picture, before being released pending a court appearance.
“We were just messing around,” she said. “Everyone is so surprised it got this far.”
Hearing of her plight, Tumpach received support from an unlikely corner – Twilight: New Moon director Chris Weitz.
“Needless to say, the case seems to me terribly unfair and I would like to do what I can to address this,” Weitz wrote in an email.
Whether or not this pressure made any difference is unclear, but Tumpach left a courtroom a free woman today, the charge against her dismissed after prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.
“She’s traumatized by this,” said her attorney Dominick Dolci. “This is the worst event of her life and she wants to put it behind her.”
Her other attorney, Howard Kavenow, added: “This was nothing more than a birthday party where photos were being taken. It’s nonsense.”
Samantha Tumpach will not now face three years in jail, no thanks to the heartless and completely idiotic theater managers who tried to ruin her life.