UK movie theaters say no to Google Glass

Just a week after Glass launched in the UK, movie theaters in the country are making moves to ban the device from auditoriums.

The ban is designed to scupper attempts by individuals, as well as organized gangs, to record blockbusters for illegal distribution. While determined pirates may carry on using their usual collection of recording devices to grab material, it seems Glass was of particular concern because within the confines of a crowded and dark theater it could be harder to spot when it’s recording.

With Glass’s video function only able to run for a maximum of about 45 minutes before the battery runs down, it’d be impossible for a user to record an entire feature-length movie using the face-based computer. However, an organized team using several Glass sets, or a variety of devices, would have little trouble capturing a whole film, which it could then stitch together at a later time.

“Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not,” Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, told the UK’s Independent newspaper over the weekend.

Vue Cinemas, which operates a number of movie theaters across the UK, confirmed it’ll be asking customers wearing Glass to remove the gadget “as soon as the lights dim.”

UK theaters, too, are looking at how to deal with Glass. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, which operates seven theaters in central London, said it intended to look closely at how Glass could affect not only those on stage, but also members of the audience.

Google took Glass outside of the US for the first time last week, offering prototypes to UK-based developers and Glass enthusiasts for £1,000 a set as part of its Explorer beta-testing program.

The movie theaters have been pretty quick to respond to the arrival of Glass, though in the coming months we can expect to see all manner of UK businesses make their feelings known on the device, and whether they intend to restrict use of Google’s gadget.

Since unveiling Glass in 2012, Google has been fighting to win the argument over the usefulness of its smart eyewear, as well as trying to reassure those troubled by its implications, which include privacy concerns. In the US, a Stop the Cyborgs campaign was formed “to stop a future in which privacy is impossible and where the iron cage of surveillance, calculation and control pervades every aspect of life.” The site offers a range of Google Glass ‘ban signs’ for businesses to display inside their premises.

Despite two years of tests and development, the gadget is still not considered ready for a full-scale launch, with no concrete date yet offered by the Mountain View company.

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