Google Glass poses a significant threat to the movie industry, Hollywood believes. The advent of the wearable technology has sparked fears that it could be used for piracy.
This January the FBI dragged a man from a movie theater in Columbus, Ohio, after theater staff presumed his wearing of Google Glass was a sign that he was engaged in camcorder piracy.
At the time the MPAA shrugged off the incident as an unfortunate mistake, claiming that it had seen “no proof that it is currently a significant threat that could result in content theft.” This has now changed.
Starting today Google Glass is no longer welcome in movie theaters. The new ban applies to all US movie theaters and doesn’t include an exception for prescription glasses.
The MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) stress that they welcome technological innovations and recognize the importance of wearables for consumers. However, the piracy enabling capabilities of these devices can’t be ignored.
“As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown,” MPAA and NATO state.
“As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave,” they add.
Cautioning potential pirates, the movie groups emphasize that theater employees will take immediate action when they spot someone with wearable recording devices. Even when in doubt, the local police will be swiftly notified.
“If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.”
The wearable ban is now part of the MPAA’s strict set of anti-piracy practices. These instruct movie theater owners to be on the lookout for suspicious individuals who may have bad intentions.
Aside from the wearables threat, the best practices note that all possible hidden camera locations in the theater should be considered, including cup holders. In addition, employees should be alert for possible concealed recording equipment, as often seen in the movies.
“Movie thieves are very ingenious when it comes to concealing cameras. It may be as simple as placing a coat or hat over the camera, or as innovative as a specially designed concealment device,” it warns.
To increase vigilance among movie theater employees, a $500 bounty is being placed on the heads of those who illegally camcord a movie.