There are days when you wonder what life must be like as a PR person for the MPAA. I mean, it must take an extraordinary amount of either cognitive dissonance or will power to avoid bursting out laughing at writing the opening sentence
like the following in an announcement about how the MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) are colluding to ban technologies like Google Glass:
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and 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. 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. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.
This is the same MPAA that tried to sue the VCR out of existence. This is the same MPAA has tried to block things like "day and date" releases so that movies might be released to home viewers more conveniently. This is the same MPAA that sued a variety of file sharing properties out of existence. This is the same MPAA that was the main backer of SOPA, a copyright bill that would have significantly hindered security on the internet. This is the same MPAA whose prominent member, Viacom, engaged in a years-long legal fight with YouTube. Yeah, it has a history of "welcoming technological advances"? I don't think so.
This particular policy is not too surprising. After all, the company did summon Homeland Security to interrogate a guy
for deciding to wear his Google Glass (while it was turned off) during a movie. For groups so welcoming to new technology, they don't seem to recognize that Google Glass has terrible resolution and battery life and would be a really dumb choice for someone to use to record a movie (not the least of which is because when the video is recording there's a bright LED light shining from the device, making it easy to spot).
Of course, they're coming out with this policy after basically Google Glass has become a dead product
. It didn't catch on, and it's not clear that Google is even taking it that seriously any more. There are others attempting similar things, but, really, at this point the MPAA seems to be barring a technology that was never a serious threat in the first place for no good reason. Because it's so "welcoming" of new technologies.
Next time, MPAA PR person, why not just be honest for a change. Here's the announcement translated for accuracy:
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of trying to stop any even remotely innovative new consumer technology that challenges our existing business models. As part of our completely wasteful and pointless effort to stop file sharing of movies, we have a zero-tolerance policy that makes us look clueless and out of date, by doing things like having young people arrested for capturing a few seconds of a movie as part of a birthday celebration. As part of this long standing "screw the customer for no good reason" policy, all devices that might possibly record just seconds of a movie in terrible quality must be shut off. Frankly, if we could, we'd force everyone to dump them in a bin before going into the theater, but even we think you'd probably revolt at that step. Individuals who have basic common sense will be asked to leave and everyone will be reminded that maybe, just maybe, instead of paying $12 for a movie in a crappy theater, they'd be better off at home, futzing around on the internet. But, don't worry, we're looking for ways to make that illegal too.