NATO and MPAA Announce Policy Banning Wearable Recording Devices

Posted by at 9:07 am on October 30, 2014

NATOWearing Google Glass in any movie theater in the United States could soon mean a visit from law enforcement thanks to the efforts of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and National Association of Theatre Owners. The organizations released a joint statement this week announcing that wearable devices are now added to official anti-piracy polices.

The policy update doesn’t target any specific wearable devices, but it is likely Google Glass or any other worn devices with a camera would be counted. With the flak Google Glass has received in movie theaters in the last year–including detaining someone wearing one and outright bans on the devices–it isn’t hard to imagine that the policy was officially updated to give theater owners ammunition against the technology. However, the change could also have an effect on the emergence of smartbands and smartwatches, assuming they have a built-in camera.

Changes to the policy are less about finding a way to deal with customers that are interested in “intelligent” wearable devices, but instead look at wearables from an anti-piracy standpoint. For the MPAA and National Association of Theatre Owners, adding wearable devices is an extension of the preexisting policy that adopts a zero tolerance for the use of any recording devices during the showing of a film.

“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,” reads the updated policy.

While forgetting to turn or take off a wearable like Google Glass may not immediately warrant a phone call to the authorities, theaters can now turn to law enforcement if management suspects that illegal recording activities are taking place. It’s likely that people wearing the offending wearables will be asked to either take them off or leave before such actions occur.

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