After all of the frustration caused by cell phones being used in movies theatres as of late, it appears that theatre owners are trying to get a headstart in cracking down on various wearable devices as well. This week the MPAA and National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced that they are taking a zero tolerance stance against Google Glass and other similar mobile devices. Of course, their main concern is not so much about preserving the moviegoing experience as it is about preventing piracy. Here is the official statement on the matter that was issued by both groups earlier this week:
“The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and recognize the strong consumer interest in smart phones and wearable “intelligent” devices. 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. 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. 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.”
Earlier this year, a moviegoer in Columbus, Ohio was questioned by Homeland Security after wearing Google Glass at an AMC Theatre while taking in a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Ultimately, he ended up getting free passes out of the deal, and at the time, the MPAA concluded that, “Google Glass is an incredible innovation in the mobile sphere, and we have seen no proof that it is currently a significant threat that could result in content theft.” Apparently they have since changed their story.
Considering how easy it is to record video with Google Glass, it’s not too surprising to hear that they are essentially banning them outright. However, it will be interesting to see how this applies to smaller, less obvious devices like smartwatches. Either way, it’s a big setback for Google as there seem to be more and more places where Google Glass is simply not welcome. What do you think… is this a reasonable policy for movie theatres to adopt in theory, and more importantly, and is it actually enforceable in practice?