As the smartphone becomes increasingly integrated into daily life and wearable technology makes its way onto the mainstream market, society is becoming more and more accustomed to having the ability to film anything at any time, as well as the ability to share those recordings with the world. The evolution has been occurring slowly, becoming increasingly accessible to the average citizen since the invention of the personal video recorder. Google Glass, the long awaited wearable technology product, has the highest potential to drastically transform the way video recording is regarded in modern society. Comparable technologies from other companies are already in the works.
The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners are taking proactive measures to ensure that new technology like Google Glass is prohibited from movie theaters nationwide. According to CNN, those groups declared a “zero tolerance policy” towards wearable technology in movie theaters at the industtry convention ShowEast in Florida this week. The new policy reads as follows: “Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illgal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.”
The MPAA is simply attempting to expand upon its previously established laws banning the filming of theatrical releases for illegal distribution, but the new rules have hit upon a contentious point. Google Glass is, essentially, an item of clothing. It’s attached to a user’s head at all times, and the person wearing the technology can use it to film at any time without anyone else knowing. As of now, the device is largely seen as a cool new piece of technology, a way of moving the smartphone from the pocket so that it’s always in front of our eyes. But products like Glass will fundamentally change the way society operates. The more attached we become to such technology, the less likely individuals will be compliant in requests to put it away.
If Google Glass eases the process of recording and uploading video, there will be copyright and legal issues far beyond the movie theaters of America. Police departments throughout the country are already skeptical of any citizens’ decision to record their activity, and events such as those that unfolded in Ferguson this year lead protesters to demand that officers wear recording devices at all times while on duty. Society is calling for increased transparency, for the right to share. Companies that were able to profit off the control of or access to media — from sports broadcast networks to concert venues and movie theaters — will attempt to block such change, but at this point it seems as if they'll ultimately be on the losing side. The technology is here, but the right to use it will inevitably have to be fought for in the courts.