Media

U.K. cinemas ban Google Glass days after launch over piracy fears

Image Credit: Jolie O'Dell/VentureBeat

Updated 7:30 a.m. ET with a comment from Google, and 8:50 a.m. ET with a comment from the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association.

It took six days for movie theaters in the U.K. to ban Google Glass.

Google’s controversial face computers are now banned in some U.K. movie theaters, following the device’s June 23 debut across the pond. Vue, a large cinema chain, and the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association trade group are the first to institute a ban in the U.K. over piracy concerns, following the actions of numerous U.S. theater chains, including the Alamo Drafthouse, the Independent reports.

Of course, the piracy fears are (currently) unfounded; Glass owners report that the device can only record about 30 to 45 minutes of video before running out of battery, just long enough to capture shaky footage of the credits and an opening scene or two. Additionally, Glass devices emit a light while capturing video, making them a poor choice for anyone attempting to discreetly record video in a dark room.

The ban may simply serve as a preventative step against future acts of piracy — Glass’ battery life will surely improve over time — but theater owners appear convinced that the device is already a threat to their livelihood.

Reached for comment, Google provided VentureBeat with the following statement:

We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.

Cinema Exhibitors’ Association chief executive Phil Clapp told the Independent that “customers will be requested not to wear [Glass] into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not.”

Clapp later clarified in a statement to VentureBeat that he has “not personally used Google Glass,” but he insists that he is “aware of how it works and of its capabilities, as are others in the industry.”

Head here for more Google Glass news.

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15 comments
Dmitry Taranov
Dmitry Taranov

who need cinemas these days. who need these movies.

Chad Hassell
Chad Hassell

These guys need to get Flick Break so they can watch their movie when they need to step out to pee or refill their drinks, popcorn, snacks or take care of a fussy kid.

Antonas Gorbunovas
Antonas Gorbunovas

and who is to stop you from modifying your glasses by removing all crap and just inserting awesome cam and mask it as google glasses? :D does that make sense? ^_^

Chad Lonberger
Chad Lonberger

#whocares ...seriously, if someone's using glass during a movie they should be slapped.

Paul Vance
Paul Vance

do they think where children?! c'mon

Rajesh Parmar
Rajesh Parmar

Got you. Your English is much clearer than VBs. Cheers.

Fabio Cordeiro De Jesus
Fabio Cordeiro De Jesus

It makes sense. Good or bad at recording is besides the point. The fact that Google Glass records video makes it a threat to piracy I cinemas. Also who the fuck needs to wear that to the cinema haha?

Branden Grant
Branden Grant

Rajesh, the statements aren't contradicting. The theaters have banned them because they think they will be used to pirate the movie. What they don't understand is that if you used the Glass to pirate the movie, the resolution would be terrible, and the audio would be even worse. Does that sound better?

Rajesh Parmar
Rajesh Parmar

Your statements contradict each other...first you say movie theaters dont understand then you state they have just banned them..nice.

Rajesh Parmar
Rajesh Parmar

"Movie theaters don't seem to understand that Glass is a *terrible* piracy device.".....then you state cinemas in the UK have just banned them.. so that suggests they do understand....

Christopher Seo West
Christopher Seo West

Lol. So I walk in without wearing in and put my glasses on when the movie starts...

Brandon Pierce
Brandon Pierce

Brits must have very steady heads to get useable video in a cinema from head gear cameras like Google Glass...