Blog Post

Movie theaters announce “zero tolerance” policy for wearable tech

The Motion Picture Association of America, along with theater owners, has issued new guidelines aimed squarely at “wearable tech” devices such as Google Glass, watches and other gadgets that could record a movie.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the groups described a new “anti-theft policy” that will require moviegoers to turn off and put away any wearable device. If they refuse, they will be asked to leave.

The statement adds that theater managers will alert law enforcement if they “have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place.”

[We] 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.

The new policy comes months after an incident in which an Ohio man took his wife to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and was dragged out of the theater by federal agents for wearing Google Glass.

While the movie industry has long fretted about customers using cameras, smartphones and other devices to record and sell pirated movie copies, it will be interesting to see if they will be able to enforce the new “wearables” guidelines. While devices like Google Glass are easy to spot, it will be harder for theaters to detect items like smartwatches and bracelets.

The situation is likely to be more complicated still as a growing number of wearables are used to monitor health — meaning theaters may put themselves in the awkward position of evicting customers for wearing a medical device.

8 Responses to “Movie theaters announce “zero tolerance” policy for wearable tech”

  1. Ian Lamont

    Don’t blame the movie theaters. Blame the MPAA, who is driving this paranoid and counterproductive campaign. The last thing the theater management wants to do is piss off or alienate paying customers with unreasonable rules. But their suppliers (the studios) can twist their arms, and this is what they are doing right now.

  2. ramrajagopal

    I despise having idiots at the movie theater texting etc. Want to text? Stay at home. A movie theater experience is distinct from a living room experience. Its dark, you’re sharing space with strangers. Same as if you go to a concert. In NYC, the only idiots who have their devices out are pretty much goons, strippers, and idiots. Don’t be one of them.

  3. Sounds like record companies trying to shut down napster. You can’t stop forward progress, and going against it hurts you more than it.

    If I was them I would partner with google and make an app that adds enhanced content to the movie if you’re wearing glass.

  4. Google Glass etc are just the visible recording devices, and do you honestly think someone would record a movie with google glass? I have said for 5 years there is a simple fix to all digital recording of films in cinema. Mount high power infra-red spots around the screen and aimed at the audience. The bright IR light will ruin any digital recordings and be invisible to the naked eye. Problem solved. Read http://goo.gl/XOB3l7

  5. it’s such a dumb attitude to have, it’d be easier to ask everyone going into a shop to strip before they leave to see what they are concealing. the movie industry is going to have to come up with better movie themes on low budgets if it’s going to get over the problem of piracy. in the past they controlled access and input, and everyone in between, now they have no control except over the budgets, which are getting more and more out of touch with common sense, new thinking required i’d say.

  6. I haven’t gone to a movie theater in about 12 years. The cost is outrageous, the noise of people chewing and talking. Not to mention the rude arses who pull out their phones to reply to a text and blind everyone around them. Once a movie comes out I can usually see it within a month of release on DVD on my private screen with all the comforts of home.

  7. Stephen Haliczer

    This would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. After all, who needs the movie theater anyway. This policy will simply hasten the demise of an institution that has long passed its glory days.

  8. One more reason to stay home, avoid other movie theater experience unpleasantness, save money and watch perfectly great recent movies on our home screens. When will Exhibitors start realizing that they are in an ivory tower of exclusivity, and that they need to start courting customers on price, as well as experience, if they want to survive and avoid massive decline and consolidation?