UK Movie Theatres Ban the Use of Google Glass

Just after the much-sought-after wearable device, Google Glass, has been launched, now you can’t a watch a movie wearing it anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Piracy concerns have led theatre owners in the UK to impose a global ban on the device inside any of UK’s around 4,000 screens. UK theatre owners apparently do not want movie-goers to use the glasses inside cinema halls “regardless of whether the film is playing ow not”. 

The Google Glass is a wearable computer with a optical head-mounted display. It has a touchpad, a camera and an advanced display system. The camera seems to be the reason why UK theatre managers are jittery about its use inside the cinema. 

This is the message the audience may now see in UK screens: “As a courtesy to your fellow audience members, and to prevent film theft, we ask that customers do not enter any cinema auditorium using any ‘wearable technology’ capable of recording images. Any customer found wearing such technology will be asked to remove it and may be asked to leave the cinema.” 

Even when Google Glass was first launched in the UK, and Google talked to the Department of Transport just before the launch about its possible use by drivers on UK roads, the company faced a number of privacy-related challenges and there was public outcry against being photographed and video-recorded in public. 

This is the scenario now in the UK. In the US, however, there is no formal ban in place against the device. But earlier this year, an Ohio cine-goer was removed from a theatre and questioned by Homeland Security for wearing the device. So, one may fear that the US may also be walking the same line as the UK in the near future.

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So far, there have been no actual piracy-related concerns with Google Glass. The proposition seems unlikely too, given that right now the device can only record upto about 40 minutes of video on a single charge. 

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The Guardian says : “Google itself has poured scorn on suggestions the wearable devices could be used to record films for redistribution. A spokesman said in a statement: “We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.”

The Huffington Post, UK says : “Whilst it’s unlikely that anyone could actually record an entire film on Glass (it powers down after 45mins continuous recording) that hasn’t stopped the cinemas implementing preventative measures.

People have already gone straight to Twitter to voice their views with journalists and consumers both generally sharing the view that Glass wouldn’t pose that much of a threat.”

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