back to article NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA

Moviegoers will soon be asked to stash their Google Glass before taking in a flick, much like they're asked to pocket their mobile phones today. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO... no, really!) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said in a joint statement that NATO's member theaters would …

  1. corestore

    Great steaming hairy...


    I've had Glass for a fair while now, and there's no frigging way it could be used to pirate a movie. It's designed to records seconds, or at most minutes, of video at a time.

    If you tried to use it to record a frigging movie, first, the quality would be appalling unless you had a neck brace to hold your head still staring straight at the screen for two hours, second it would STILL be crappy quality, and third, it wouldn't work anyway because Glass would overheat and shut down and/or run out of battery long before the movie was half-way through.

    If I wanted to pirate a movie by recording a theatrical presentation I could think of 276 ways that would work better than Glass.

    Another pathetic Glass scare story.

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: Great steaming hairy...

      What's pathetic is less this story and more the MPAA and North Atlantic Theater Organization.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great steaming hairy...

      Um, isn't this more about maintaining the principal that any recording whatsoever is a breach of copyright? It doesn't matter how few frames of a film can be recorded, each one is in itself a copyrighted work.

      Anyway, allowing them now because Glasses are rubbish would make it very difficult to ban them when wearables have improved to the point where they can record the whole film.

      1. corestore

        Re: Great steaming hairy...

        It's pointless to try to 'ban' them ever, because anyone trying to record will use *concealables* not *wearables*; they'll hide a better camera with a bigger battery in a hat or lapel or walking stick or... the possibilities are endless.

        Oh and as for a few frames: fair use. You certainly CAN use a short part of a copyrighted work; it depends on the amount and the purpose.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Great steaming hairy...

          "...because anyone trying to record will use *concealables* not *wearables*; they'll hide a better camera with a bigger battery in a hat or lapel or walking stick..."

          ...and still get caught because they forgot that any lens can be detected because it will always, always retro-reflect (a.k.a. the cats eye effect). A relatively trivial infra-red illumination / camera / vision processing system would be able to spot all lenses in an audience that have a piece of silicon at the back of them instead of a retina. The one that's not moving much is the one that's being used to record the movie.

          1. Duncan Macdonald

            Re: Great steaming hairy... WRONG

            Unlike a cats eye which has a spherical surface, the sensor in a camera is flat. Incident rays hitting anywhere except in the exact centre of the sensor are not reflected back to the light source. Reflection from a good quality multicoated lens is very low (about 1%) and is also not directed back to the light source. There would be so much more reflected IR from other objects (clothes, pens, glasses, handbags etc) that the signal from cameras would be totally swamped.

            1. Tom Chiverton 1

              Re: Great steaming hairy... WRONG

              So you look for static holes :-)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Great steaming hairy...

            Last year I attended a premiere at the Fantasia festival, and once lights were out, a couple of MiB equipped with night-vision goggles would check the audience.

            1. Robert Helpmann??

              Re: Great steaming hairy...

              I work for the art show of a fairly large SF and fantasy convention. We do not allow any photography in our area except in very specific situations (e.g. the artists wanting pictures of their own display area). We ask people to put their cameras away or put lens caps on. Likewise with wearables like Google Glass, we ask that they be put away or have the lens covered (we provide masking tape).

              We have more trouble from people getting excited over costumes and trying to snap a picture with their new favorite cosplaying friend than we do with purposeful copying. We do, however, deal with some of the latter. In our case, this directly impacts the artists, unlike what is more common in the movie and movie industries. We had a couple of folks with Google Glass come through this past year, one of whom was nice enough to give us a quick up-close with the product so we could decide how to deal with it in our show.

        2. Dr.S

          Re: Great steaming hairy...

          As this situation concerns someone else's place of business, this would not primarily be a point of copyright law, but instead of contract law - the theater owner can set whatever rules of behavior they like for their establishment and evict those that do not follow them. The fair use exemptions that you find in some copyright laws are just that: exemptions from the exclusivity of copyright, not a positive right to behave in a certain way.

          So the Theater owners can very well do this. But seriously, like people pointed out above, there are many reasons why this is just damn ridiculous and makes them look very silly.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great steaming hairy...

      Google Glass is the Leisure Suit of the 21st Century, and like leisure suits, wearing it broadcasts not just the bad taste of the wearer, but that they are sleazy. NATO's real concern is that since all of those glass wearers obviously can't get dates, they'll have nothing to do in the theater except record.

    4. asdf

      Re: Great steaming hairy...

      I am no fan of the MPAA mafia but movie theaters are private property generally so they do have the right morally to do this imo (as by law they also obviously do) just as you have the right to not give them business for their policies.

      1. Fluffy Bunny

        Re: Great steaming hairy...

        "you have the right to not give them business for their policies." - except that the terms and conditions are printed on a gigantic billboard in 8 point font. It's impossible to read it while you are in line. My policy - If I can't read it, I don't have to abide by it.

    5. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Great steaming hairy...

      I suspect this establishes the precedent for when the recording technology does improve in quality and duration.

      Personally, I'd go for a CCD detector and turreted infrared targeting system to interfere with any cameras in use, but that's just me.

  2. tesmith47

    I dont look at hollywood crap for personal reasons plus the price now days, I sometimes look at stuff 10 years old so i am not a good example of the public, but, if the public could be persuaded to boycott just 1 film in protest of the damn mpaa and their stupidity they would learn a lesson very quickly!! i say, a pox on all the bastards!!!!!!

    1. Wade Burchette

      I am not boycotting Hollywood, I am just not interested in the tripe they are putting out. Every movie this year I've either said "not interested" or "I will wait for Netflix". There are very few movies released recently that make me say "I want to pay to see that".

      A boycott against the MPAA will not work because they suffer from "it is never my fault" syndrome. Movie ticket sales are down? "It isn't our fault because our product is as good as ever. Therefore, it must be piracy!" Hollywood would just blame piracy and try to enact more draconian measures that punish innocent consumers but do mild inconvenience real pirates for a few days.

  3. Term

    Consumers = Thieves

    MPAA still treating their customers as criminals...

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Consumers = Livestock

      You pay $12 to $18 to get in, you're forced to watch loud advertisements until the start time of the movie, and then another 30 to 40 minutes of advertisements play. Low grade food, if needed, is available for $15 at a large troth in the lobby. If all goes well, being milked for money is rewarded with an old story retold with new special effects. You can't sue for NATO/MPAA-sized damages of $5 million if the speakers are blown or the projector lamp is flickering at half power.

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Really puzzling, this one

    I mean - everyone knows that movie theatres are in business of selling popcorn. Why are they so concerned about some movies being copied?? Conspiracy!

    1. asdf

      Re: Really puzzling, this one

      Because NATO takes it in the ass from MPAA and smiles for them duckets.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To circumvent this restriction in the UK,

    just get a 'Black Friend' to wear them for you. No way are they going to tell him or her to take them off, just pull out your deck of cards and play the race for everything else.

  6. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    I actually have a "bootlegged in a cinema" DVD

    And the quality is, as entirely predictable, truly atrocious.

    Given bootleggers can just as easily sell blank BluRays, DVDs and CDs pretending to be the real thing I am not sure why they even bother. And consequently I don't believe the industry has anything to really fear.

    Good quality master tape copied fakes are a different issue, but you won't get that from covertly recording a film in a cinema.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: I actually have a "bootlegged in a cinema" DVD

      The real reason they hate cam copies, and the internet in general is that back in the day they could advertize the crap out of a movie, put every good bit in the ad, buy a few good reviews and get at least one good week of sales.

      Now by the end of the first day everyone who cares knows it's crap.

  7. steward

    Another great reason...

    to forego movie theaters altogether, eventually forcing studios to first-run movies to the home.

    1. JP19

      Re: Another great reason...

      I haven't been to a cinema in years I doubt I will again before I die.

      My screen at home is adequate. The sound is probably better and I get to control the volume. I can pause when I like. Watch a bit again if I want to. The seating is more comfortable, the food better and cheaper. I can have a fag if I want to. The company is better. I chose my own 'screening' times. I don't have to travel miles. It is cheaper.

      Seeing the latest offerings now instead of in a few months doesn't come close to compensating for the downsides. Cinemas are a relic from a bygone age, about time they curled up and died.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar

    The real problem...

    The real problem is that the artificial construct of "copyright" still exists in the first place. Not that it matters, because 99.9% of what Hollywood spews out is utter crap anyway.

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    I want to debunk a few points. I don't see the problem with having people take off the google glasses since there's no way to know if it's recording or not.

    "I've had Glass for a fair while now, and there's no frigging way it could be used to pirate a movie. It's designed to records seconds, or at most minutes, of video at a time."

    It doesn't matter what it's designed for; it's got video record capability and GBs of space. It's running Android, so if the stock video record app is crap and only supports a few minutes of recording (I doubt it really has a time limit), aftermarket apps are available for almost anything.

    "If you tried to use it to record a frigging movie, first, the quality would be appalling unless you had a neck brace to hold your head still staring straight at the screen for two hours, second it would STILL be crappy quality"

    Yep, cam copies are crap, and I do wonder why people bother.

    ", and third, it wouldn't work anyway because Glass would overheat and shut down and/or run out of battery long before the movie was half-way through."

    Just like most modern smartphones, Google Glass' ARM chip(s) support NEON, which already makes the CPU time involved in video encodes and decodes VERY much lower than you'd expect; most video chipsets used in smartphones also support hardware video encode in addition to video decode. You will not have problems with heat or battery life with either of these solutions.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Glass = Very Bad CAM

    Using Google Glass would at best produce a very low resolution and poor quality film. Who is going to sit very still and not move their head? At all. The sound quality would also be terrible. In short nobody would even waste the time to download such a poor copy.

    The best CAM copies are made with the cooperation of the theatre owner or projectionist using a mounted HD camera and the digital audio output from the digital projector.

    The other content leak is from Discs distributed by the studios for the Oscars and PR purposes.

    Other content is copied direct from the hard drive used to distribute the film and from streaming sources like Netflix and Amazon. Televised content is written to disc as the programming is streamed.

    Of course when the film dvd is distributed that is when the 1080p copies are distributed. And that is several months after the theatre release.

    The whole Expendables 3 was all about getting a very bad film into the news in a positive way. It increased theatre sales as folks wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The studio itself put Expendables on-line then went to the press wringing their hands crying woe is me.

    Google Glass is not even a contender, however it is visible and easy to make an example of.

    A CAM copy is more about bragging rights for the uploader and in actual fact the impact that a CAM copy has on sales is miniscule.

    I will not watch a film that is a cam copy. I hate the poor quality. However some folks just can not afford to avail themselves of going to the cinema much less buying a DVD. These are the people who watch CAM copies and other downloaded media formats.

    This is about the economics of entertainment.

  11. chris lively

    I'm like several others here. There is literally nothing a theater offers that I don't have a better solution for at home. I don't need to see a movie the moment it comes out. Actually, I rather like te ability to watch 5 or 10 minutes of something and simply shut it off if I don't like it.

    I value my time on this planet and there is just no point wasting it watching a poor movie or even a good movie ( rare, I know ) under poor conditions.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like