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Woman Sorta Tapes Twilight, Faces Prison

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 3, 2009 5:20PM

2009_12_twilight_new_moon.jpg One area woman has learned the hard way that authorities are serious about cracking down on movie bootlegging. Problem is, if her defense is true - and we're all presumed innocent, right? - than there's a whole lot of fuss being made over nothing. Samantha Tumpach, 22, spent a few nights in jail and faces three years of prison - thanks to a federal law set up to prevent illegally taping and distributing movies - after she was allegedly caught at a Rosemont theater recording parts of Twilight: New Moon. A theater worker pulled her aside when he saw her filming with a digital camera and authorities confiscated the camera to find...a whopping three minutes of footage. Tumpach insists she wasn't bootlegging the movie, but rather recording events surrounding her older sister's surprise birthday party. She was charged with criminal use of a motion picture exhibition and spent the two nights in jail before being released by a judge on "a personal recognizance bond." She told the Sun-Times that the police were understanding and even sympathetic: “They were so nice to me."

The Sun-Times continues:

Tumpach insisted she recorded no more than three minutes while in the theater — and said not all of the video she shot was of the movie. There’s footage of she and her relatives singing to her sister, she said. “We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her in the theater,” Tumpach said.

She also took pictures of family members in the theater before the film began, but an usher who saw the photo session never issued them a warning, Tumpach said...

The footage she shot also includes the pre-film commercials, as well as her talking about the camera and the movie. “You can hear me talking the whole time,” Tumpach said.

Tumpach is planning to fully fight the charge, saying, "It was never my intention to record the movie."