MPAA & ICE Confirm They Interrogated A Guy For Wearing Google Glass During A Movie
from the insane dept
We wrote earlier about the guy who told the story of being pulled out of a theater in the middle of a movie for wearing Google Glass (turned off), which he wears all the time, because he got prescription lenses installed on the device and uses it as his regular pair of glasses. As we noted, there were some oddities in the original story, including references to the FBI and “The Movie Association,” neither of which made sense. Since then, as we noted in our updated post, AMC confirmed that a customer had been detained, and since then the MPAA as well as Homeland Security have weighed in, confirming the basic story. This is insane on multiple levels, which we’ll get to in a moment. But first, the quotes. Here’s AMC:
Movie theft is something we take very seriously, and our theater managers contact the Motion Picture Association of America anytime it’s suspected that someone may be illegally recording content on screen. 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 theatre. At AMC Easton 30 last weekend, a guest was questioned for possible movie theft after he was identified wearing a recording device during a film. The presence of this recording device prompted an investigation by the MPAA, which was on site. The MPAA then contacted Homeland Security, which oversees movie theft. The investigation determined the guest was not recording content.
Then the MPAA:
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. The MPAA works closely with theaters all over the country to curb camcording and theater-originated piracy, and in this particular case, no such activity was discovered.
Finally, Homeland Security’s ICE division:
On Jan. 18, special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film at an AMC theater in Columbus. The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive. No further action was taken.
Okay, now onto the point. As we said in the initial post, this certainly fit with the MPAA’s insane “guidelines” to theaters and their “zero tolerance” policies towards anyone possibly recording anything. However, the involvement of ICE is particularly insane. We’ve been particularly critical of ICE and the group’s over-aggressive campaign to seize websites based entirely on Hollywood’s say so.
Even so, it seemed incredible that ICE would take direction from the MPAA on something as small as a guy in a movie theater, rushing to the theater to help with the interrogation of someone there, but we underestimated the willingness of ICE to say “how high” when the MPAA says “jump.” Yes, we should know better by now, but we thought we’d actually give the MPAA and DHS the benefit of the doubt here. Our mistake.
We find it difficult to believe that there aren’t more important things for ICE to be doing than hassling a guy out attending a movie with his wife. Hollywood has gotten ICE into trouble in the past with its over-aggressive claims about websites. You’d think that ICE would have learned by now that the RIAA and MPAA are not exactly trustworthy when they insist someone is a “filthy pirate” who needs to be investigated. There is simply no reason for federal investigators to be involved at all, let alone called in to interrogate some guy wearing a new piece of technology that the MPAA has overreacted to.