Google Glass banned from UK cinemas over copyright and privacy concerns

Just days after it went on sale in the UK, Google Glass has been banned from cinemas across the country, as both the Vue cinema chain and the Cinema Exhibitors' Association have said the gadget cannot be worn during screenings.

The move follows cinema chains in the US, who have also banned the use of Glass over fears of copyright infringement being committed by using Glass’ forward-facing video camera to record the film.

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Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, said: "Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not."

The Vue cinema chain said it would ask guests to remove the eyewear "as soon as the lights dim,” reports the Independent.

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More than a year after it began selling Glass to developers in the US, Google opened a pop-up store in central London last weekend to promote the UK launch of Glass, which sells for £1,000 and includes a titanium frame and non-prescription lenses.

But simply switching Glass off may not be enough, as it has been reported that one user was told to remove his entirely at a cinema in Leicester Square as staff could not tell if it was on or off. There is no visual indication to show when Glass is recording video.

Glass also expected to be banned from theatres and hospitals

London-based theatres are currently evaluating whether to implement rules against customers using and wearing Glass, while hospitals are expected to tell visitors to remove the gadget to comply with patient protection laws.

Such bans may anger some Glass owners, especially those who fit prescription lenses and use the gadget as their only pair of glasses.

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Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has asked Google to look at ways of limiting Glass’ functionality when it is being worn by a driver; this could mean limiting what the device can do, to prevent distractions.

A Google spokesperson said: “We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.”

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