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Movie chain takes technology bans to next level over Google Glass

updated 05:24 pm EDT, Tue June 10, 2014

Alamo Drafthouse institutes policy requiring Glass be removed during films

Alamo Drafthouse is taking its policy on interruptive technology to new levels this week with a ban on Google Glass. Company CEO Tim League announced the official adoption of the policy on Twitter yesterday. While the ban doesn't keep people from wearing the recording devices inside the theaters, once a film starts playing, it is now required that the device be removed from the wearer's head.

Talking with trade magazine Deadline, League said that Alamo Drafthouse had been considering a policy on the devices for some time. However, it wasn't until patrons started visiting the theaters with them that it was needed to be put into place.

The move comes from the company attempting to address piracy, rather than one of public consideration like many of its other notable policies. Google Glass can be considered a recording device, which is illegal to bring into a movie theater in the United States. An Ohio customer of AMC theaters was previously pulled out of a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit by the FBI for wearing Glass.

"We've been talking about this potential ban for over a year," said League. "Google Glass did some early demos here in Austin, and I tried them out personally. At that time, I recognized the potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas. I decided to put off a decision until we started seeing them in the theater, and that started happening this month."

To say that the move is an outright ban on Google Glass is a little misleading, as the policy is only that the device is required to be removed. For people that have integrated Glass into prescription eyewear, it would be difficult for the company to turn them away.

It also creates a problem for employees at the theatres, as they would have to check to see if Glass was active in these cases. League tweeted that these situations would be handled on a "case-by-case basis." As long as it was clear when they were turned off, it wouldn't be an issue.

League mentioned that the company may have to re-address concerns if the technology becomes widely adopted. "Given the technology that exists today, however, I decided that banning the device while movies are playing is the best decision for us right now," he added.

The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain is best known for its aggressive no-talking-during-films policy, which it started enforcing in 1997. It would later incorporate a ban on texting as well, which resulted in the ejection of customers. The company turned an angry rant from a customer kicked out for texting into a PSA. League went as far as saying those that text during movies are not welcome in the theaters. Alamo Drafthouse operates in a number of states including Texas, Colorado and Virginia.

by MacNN Staff



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