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​Google Glass to be banned in UK cinemas amid fears of film theft

Published time: June 30, 2014 21:35
Reuters / David W Cerny

Reuters / David W Cerny

Google Glass headsets are to be banned in UK cinemas. Piracy fears have erupted since the gadgets became commercially available, and the crackdown will alleviate fears that Hollywood blockbusters will be illegally copied.

Although the technology has been available in the US for a couple of years, the eyewear was only brought out in the UK last week. Renewed fears and discussions over privacy and piracy have emerged because the device's capabilities include video capture at the touch of a finger and internet access.

“Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, which represents about 90 percent of UK cinema operators.

Despite its batteries running down after some 45 minutes of recording, concern has persisted as it is difficult to assess when recordings are being made, and it would be possible to merge the products of several devices.

“We don’t allow any wearable technology that is pointed at the screen and is able to record in theaters,” AMC Theaters told the International Business Times. “While we're huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theater,” the company said.

VUE cinemas – part of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association – also said that it would be asking customers to remove their devices “as soon as the lights dim,” reported the Independent.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group – which is responsible for the running of six London theatre venues – said it would “evaluate the implications, especially with regard to the effect on the cast, creative team and members of the public.”

A Google spokesperson said: “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.”

Google has issued guidelines on the usage of Glass. Instructions include “[Don't] be creepy or rude” (also known as a 'Glasshole') and “Don’t read War and Peace on Glass,” because it wasn’t intended for long periods of use.

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