Glass Explorer gets booted out the movie theater, accused of movie piracy

Google Glass AMC

If you’re one of those lucky Google Glass owners whose fond of wearing the device everywhere you go, turned on or not, you might want to reconsider doing so.

An anonymous reader of The Gadgeter shared his unfortunate experience while wearing his Google Glass at the cinema. He related how he was with his wife at the AMC (Easton Mall, Columbus, OH), watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  About an hour into the movie, he was approached by a guy who shoved a badge on his face, yanked his Google Glass from his face and asked him to step outside immediately. The person recounted how embarrassing the situation was, with 5-10 law enforcement officers waiting for him outside the cinema. He didn’t know what was happening at first, but eventually learned that he was being accused of illegally recording the movie they were watching.

The guy explained that the device was turned off and that he was only wearing them because his prescription lenses were fitted into his Google Glass. Of course, his claims fell on deaf ears. He even asked them to just look at the content of the device to know that he wasn’t recording the film.  Unfortunately, few feds are familiar with how Google Glass works, and it took them a couple of hours before they figured out how to access all of its files and go through them.

Long story short – a guy was accused of illegal video recording, he pleaded not guilty, no one believed him, the men in suits eventually figured out he was telling the truth, and he was let go.

Some might feel that the individual in question was asking for it (he is a ‘glasshole’, after all), but that’s pretty unfair. Even more so when you’re roughly interrogated, asked you to ‘fess up to a crime you did not commit, and threatened if you don’t confess to the crime.

The worst thing about the whole ordeal, aside from he and his wife getting the scare of their life, was that instead of apologizing for the whole kerfuffle, he and his wife were given free movie passes. As if free movie passes would make up for the inconvenience, embarrassment, and trauma that the guys in charge inflicted on the couple…

The individual made it clear in his letter to The Gadgeteer that he was less than pleased with the cinema’s offer:

“A guy who claimed his name is Bob Hope (he gave me his business card) came in the room, and said he was with the Movie Association and they have problems with piracy at that specific theater and that specific movie. He gave me two free movie passes “so I can see the movie again”. I asked if they thought my Google Glass was such a big piracy machine, why didn’t they ask me not to wear them in the theater? I would have probably sat five or six rows closer to the screen (as I didn’t have any other pair of prescription glasses with me) and none of this would have happened. All he said was AMC called him, and he called the FBI and “here are two more passes for my troubles”. I would have been fine with “I’m sorry this happened, please accept our apologies”. Four free passes just infuriated me.”

AMC confirmed the incident and released the following statement:

“Movie theft is something we take very seriously, and our theater managers contact the Motion Picture Association of America anytime it’s suspected that someone may be illegally recording content on screen. While we’re huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theatre. At AMC Easton 30 last weekend, a guest was questioned for possible movie theft after he was identified wearing a recording device during a film. The presence of this recording device prompted an investigation by the MPAA, which was on site. The MPAA then contacted Homeland Security, which oversees movie theft. The investigation determined the guest was not recording content.”

The anonymous person raised two points regarding the whole ordeal:

First, if AMC thought that he was going to record the movie, they should have asked him to remove his glasses before the movie started, or asked him to surrender the device before he entered the cinema.

Second, if the feds believed he was recording the movie, why didn’t they just access the content right from the beginning instead of wasting all of their time threatening and interrogating the couple?  Were they that technologically incapable that it took them more than two hours before finally plugging the device to a computer to access its content?

Phandroid got in contact with the person involved in the situation and asked him more questions regarding what transpired.

The individual said in a statement that AMC was “having known issues on that theatre, and they had suspicions there would be attempts to pirate that particular movie,” it was just unfortunate that he was wearing his Google Glass that they.  Since he had his Google Glass fitted with prescription lenses, he’s been exclusively using it, but has an emergency pair or prescription glasses which he keeps in his car. He didn’t think that wearing his Google Glass would be a problem since he had already done this a couple of times before.

He also added that the experience will not change his Google Glass wearing habits, but said that he’ll try to remember to carry his other pair of prescription glasses when watching a movie. He did not want to make a big deal about what happened, but wanted to share his experience with other Google Glass owners so that they can learn from his experience.