The entertainment industry’s got a bit of a love/hate relationship with tech. While the rise of portable devices, higher-than-ever internet speeds, and ubiquitous connectivity, it’s become incredibly easy these companies to sell you content. Suddenly feel the urge to watch Caddyshack? Hop on a service like Google Play Movies, and you’re just a tap or two away from a streaming copy. But that same tech also makes it easy for pirates to capture and distribute extremely high-quality copies of the same media. As such, media companies have taken a hard-line stance against tech they view as threats to their profit sources, and in a statement released today, the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Motion Picture Association of America make it clear that wearables are not welcome in movie theaters.
Complaints about the perceived threat from wearable devices with high def cameras are nothing new, and Google Glass has struggled to win over the public’s heart since it first went up for sale last spring. But the wording of this new statement doesn’t stop at head-mounted cameras, and makes a much more general point that “recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time.”
Granted, we haven’t seen many smartwatches that have full A/V recording capabilities, but models like Samsung’s Gear 2 are very much able to capture 720p video. Would we ever want to watch a movie recorded on such a device? Good lord, that sounds awful. But even that tiny wrist-mounted camera might be enough to get you kicked out of the movies.
This all sounds like a knee-jerk reaction from an industry acting out of fear, with the instinct for self-preservation overwhelming all rational sense, but whether or not wearable bans have the slightest chance of impacting piracy, this is something we’re bound to hear more and more about as smartwatches (and wearables in general) continue to evolve and grow in popularity.