The MPAA recently updated its anti-piracy guidelines for movie theaters and, wow, good luck to theaters. Here’s a brief rundown of the “highlights:”
- Theaters should employ staff with night-vision goggles for pre-release screenings.
- Theater owners should call the police at the slightest suspicion that a patron could be recording the film.
- A “zero tolerance” policy that prohibits audio and video recording devices, presumably meaning smart phones and camera phones.
- A $500 reward for any employee who busts a pirate.
The MPAA always seems to come up with one sensible idea and then take it to the extreme. Night-vision goggles are already present at many pre-release screenings I attend. I don’t recall anyone being tossed or under suspicion. Since the staff is only there to bust potential pirates, nothing is done for what is really getting people fed up with the theater experience: annoying assholes and their cell phones.
And this is why these measures will go nowhere. Theaters, going back to when talking was the most annoying thing you had to deal with, have always done whatever it takes to not piss off their clientele. You’ll sit there and listen to someone else’s conversation during a movie cause they’re paying customers just like you. Unless you’re causing property damage or exposing yourself, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want without consequences.
These measures are misguided, as usual. Hell, most smart phone video is an unwatchable mess, and that’s without filming another screen. These so-called “cam” pirated versions almost always come from overseas and with the cooperation of shady theater owners there. Plus, why watch that trash when you’ll get a sterling 1080p version a few months later?