The Decepticons are Here


One good thing to come out of the YKos FCC session: I was tipped off to this story, which I hadn't heard of even though it happened in a movie theater I occasionally patronize.

Jhannet Sejas and her boyfriend were celebrating her 19th birthday by taking in a matinee showing of the hit movie "Transformers" at the theater at Ballston Common mall.

Sejas was enjoying the movie so much that she decided to film a short clip of the sci-fi adventure's climax to get her little brother hyped to go see it.

Minutes later, two Arlington County police officers were pointing their flashlights at the young couple in the darkened theater and ordering them out. They confiscated the digital camera as evidence and charged Sejas, a Marymount University sophomore and Annandale resident, with a crime: illegally recording a motion picture.

Sejas faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 when she goes to trial this month in the July 17 incident.

But Sejas was trying to convince her brother to spend money on a movie.

Kendrick Macdowell, general counsel for the Washington-based National Association of Theatre Owners, said that illegal pirating of films costs the industry billions of dollars and that the industry was stepping up efforts to stamp it out.

Because of that, he said, there has to be a "zero-tolerance policy at the theater level."

A "zero-tolerance policy?" Come on, that's cant. Grabbing 20 seconds of a movie isn't like giving someone a tiny sample of cocaine. What Sejas was doing wasn't much different than what iTunes does, whetting your appetite with a 30-second clip of a movie or song.