Google Glass Wearer Claims He Was Yanked Out Of Movie, Held In Office For Hours, Over Filming He Didn't Do [Updated]

from the zero-tolerance! dept

Just a couple months ago, we wrote about the MPAA's insane "zero tolerance" policies that it was sending to movie theaters, telling them to be extra vigilant in stopping anyone from filming movies:
The MPAA recommends that theaters adopt a Zero Tolerance policy that prohibits the video or audio recording and the taking of photographs of any portion of a movie.

Theater managers should immediately alert law enforcement authorities whenever they suspect prohibited activity is taking place. Do not assume that a cell phone or digital camera is being used to take still photographs and not a full-length video recording. Let the proper authorities determine what laws may have been violated and what enforcement action should be taken.

Theater management should determine whether a theater employee or any other competent authority is empowered to confiscate recording devices, interrupt or interfere with the camcording, and/or ask the patron to leave the auditorium.
As we noted at the time, these kinds of policies seem more likely to piss off movie viewers than to actually stop any form of "piracy." And, indeed, as pretty much every one of you has sent in this morning, a story over at The Gadgeteer appears to show these overreaching policies in action, as a guy wearing his Google Glass (with the power off) was summarily yanked out of the theater in the middle of a movie and held in an office while a bunch of people posing as officials quizzed him about who he was recording for.

The story is a little short on some key details. For example, it's never clear who the people interrogating him actually are associated with. The article title claims "the FBI" and other reports have similarly claimed the FBI was involved, but that seems unlikely. Apparently someone claimed to be with the "federal service" which is not what anyone would say if they were actually a federal employee. Someone is claimed to be from "the Movie Association" -- which might mean the MPAA (the Motion Pictures Association of America), but that's hardly clear. It's especially odd since the person who went through the experience claims that he got the business card of this guy -- named "Bob Hope" -- from "the Movie Association" so if it was actually the MPAA, you'd think he'd look at the business card and properly state where the guy came from. Or, you know, send in a picture of the business card (perhaps with contact info redacted).

To be honest, all of those factors make me question the legitimacy of the entire story -- though there have been other similar stories in the past that we've seen involving mobile phones. And it does fit with the MPAA's guidelines on "zero tolerance."

Update: AMC has confirmed that "a guest with a potential recording device inside the auditorium was questioned at our AMC Easton 30. Another report says that the MPAA was on site and interrogated the guy and then contacted DHS, claiming they have "oversight for movie theft." I'd be curious to see where or how DHS has authority over "movie theft." I'm guessing people will claim it's an ICE issue, but that goes way beyond what ICE is supposedly working on.
Separately, the guy begged the "police" or whoever was there to look at his Google Glass and go through his private things. While that has no bearing on the legitimacy of his story, as Popehat recently reminded people, this is monumentally stupid for a whole variety of reasons.

Whether or not this turns out to be a legitimate story, this issue is going to come up again and again as Google Glass and a flood of similar products heading to market become more popular. The MPAA's "zero tolerance" attitude and its general antipathy towards any new technology it can't control or quash is going to lead to this sort of scenario playing out one way or another eventually. If the MPAA and the theaters had any vision at all, they'd be working out a better way to deal with it, but since they seem to see everything as a black and white situation, expect an even more extreme version of how they've treated mobile phones -- even to the point of (at times) requiring them to be confiscated before people can go into the theater -- thereby encouraging fewer people to actually go to the theater.

Filed Under: google glass, movie theaters, zero tolerance
Companies: amc, mpaa


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  1. identicon
    Pragmatic, 22 Jan 2014 @ 3:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "question the legitimacy of the entire story" -- BUT instead of verifying,

    It's all about the hatred of communal/collective ANYTHING, fear of OS and the alleged piracy that goes with it, and a visceral hatred of pirates and due process. I was working off her blog ravings (she used to recommend we read it where I tangled with her) rather than this Second Life persona or whatever it is.

    The "Commie" rant was the giveaway. I've never heard of Prokofy Neva but I think that's more of a persona. Remember, when you're anonymous, more cats get out of the bag.

    As for the incoherency, that's in nearly every post.

    Finally, the blog is all about teh copyright and how anything other than uttermost maximalism is piracy and offenders should be extradited for it, etc.

    Oh, and Cathy hates Google with a passion, per her blog posts.

    In short:

    1. barely coherent anti-"leftist/commie/collective/OS" rants
    2. irrational fixation on copyright maximalism as a common law right
    3. pretends to hate "the Rich" and corporations, but seems to think the **AAs are the second coming
    4. is convinced that selling copies of works is the only way to make a living as a creative
    5. considers all who disagree with her position on anything to be the enemy and treats them as such
    6. doubles down on her argument's position when proven wrong
    7. changes the subject when owned instead of admitting to being wrong
    8. arbitrary standards of right and wrong
    9. dismissal of the value of due process where copyright is concerned
    10. irrational hatred of Google while continuing to use it. I've pointed that out many times, then she's gone on to admit to using it despite being told there are alternatives

    She hates Google more than Mike, and her Mike-hate thing is more of an envious pseudo-libertarian thing than a personal one. I hadn't noticed much of the pseudo-libertarian/Alex Jones rants on her blog because I was more focused on the toxic copyright protectionism and hatred of alleged pirates, but I guess it's in there somewhere.

    Hey, I could be wrong, but if you manage to unmask OOTB and prove it, I'll be the first to admit to being wrong. It's just that the arguments we have with her here are arguments I've had with her elsewhere. We're just repeating ourselves because we have to because she can't admit to being wrong and is unwilling to learn anything that doesn't mesh with her opinions.

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