June 16, 2014
Google Glass Banned In Movie Theaters
Recently, Alamo Drafthouse, which runs theaters in several states — including Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Virginia — announced it would ban Google Glass. This is the first US chain to ban Google‘s computerized eyewear, Ars Technica reported.
“Google Glass is officially banned from @drafthouse auditoriums once lights dim for trailers. http://ow.ly/i/5QwMQ #MovieManners,” tweeted Tim League.
The wearable computer has also been banned at restaurants, strip clubs, and casinos – so it is really no surprise that movie theaters, which already deal with piracy issues, would be soon to join the ban bandwagon. This technology has no place in movie theaters, where patrons should really be there just to watch the movie.
There are already numerous distractions such as those who feel compelled to talk during the movie, crying babies, ringing cell phones and increasingly people who text and check email on a device. All those distractions have likely led to declining ticket sales as the movie going experience becomes increasing annoying.
Google Glass presents other problems.
In January, a patron at an AMC theater was detained for wearing Google Glass. Reports suggest the unnamed man was pulled out of the theater during a showing of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and subsequently questioned for an hour by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents.
The “suspect” in the case told The Gadgeteer:
Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie.”
The individual apparently sat through a long interrogation process and as noted in his discussion could have been avoided had the movie theater made it clear that Google Glass was not allowed to be worn by patrons.
For those who think the theater, or law enforcement, overreacted it is worth noting that the Directors Guild of America‘s studies found that $25 billion is now the annual cost to US firms in lost sales, while 375,000 jobs could be lost each year due to piracy.
However, on the other side of the issue, it is all too apparent that the theaters, the movie industry and law enforcement are content to sit back and attempt to create bans that only punish the innocent – as in the case of the film going patron at the AMC theater.
Think about this the next time you put in a DVD or Blu-ray. Among the first things that come up is a copyright warning. Some films even begin with a PSA that warns about the evils of “stealing” copyrighted material. Personally, I find these warnings distasteful since I paid good money and didn’t steal anything.
In the case of Google Glass, it is easy to see why it is being so readily targeted. Simply by wearing it, the user can, in fact, “steal” private and copyrighted material just by looking. While I’m against censorship, I’m also against technology that makes everyone need to worry about what is being recorded as well.
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