Dozens of movie theaters worldwide have equipped their employees with night vision goggles to spy on customers, hoping to spot illegal recording devices. Following complaints alleging invasion of privacy, in Germany the local authorities ruled that theaters have to warn their customers if they use such equipment, rendering their piracy trap useless.
To prevent movie goers from sneaking in recording equipment, movie theaters nowadays have implemented all sorts of security measures. Employees are equipped with night-vision goggles so they can closely monitor the public and several theaters have metal detectors installed.
Despite all these expensive and invasive efforts to catch camcording pirates, nearly every new blockbuster still leaks onto the Internet, though often in poor quality. One unsecured theater is enough to pirate a film. Nevertheless, the film industry treats millions of paying movie goers as potential criminals and acts surprised when the public complains about it.
In Germany the local authorities decided to do something about this. The state administration office of Sachsen-Anhalt ruled that movie visitors must be informed about the use of night vision goggles before they buy their tickets. This advance notice allows them to decide if they want to be spied on or not.
The ruling came in response to a recent move by film distribution company Warner Bros. that had instructed theater personnel to use night vision devices to prevent the film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from being camcorded.
The use of night vision goggles and other security gadgets has led to a handful of arrests worldwide, but has ruined the pleasure of “a night at the movies” for untold others. The measures taken by the film industry to prevent illegal recordings from showing up online are similar to the use of DRM, they annoy honest customers while pirates circumvent them.