Even with prescription lenses, Google Glass is banned from UK cinemas

Users of Google Glass fitted with prescription lenses to improve poor eyesight will be refused entry from UK cinemas.

Speaking to Mobile Choice, Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, said even cinema visitors who rely on prescription lenses attached to their Glass for better eyesight will be refused entry or asked to leave, amid fears of copyright infringement.

“If a customer turns up wearing Google Glass with prescription lenses and has no ordinary pair of glasses with them, then it is likely they will be refused entry,” Clapp said.

The chief executive added: “If any customer is found using wearable technology in the auditorium, then they are likely to be asked to leave. If they are suspected of recording images, then the police will be called.”

Read More - Hands-on with Google Glass Explorer Edition

Google Glass went on sale in the UK on 23 June, priced at £1,000 for its current iteration, known as the Explorer Edition. But just a week later, the Vue cinema chain and the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association announced a ban on customers wearing Glass during screenings.

The ban is due to concerns over Glass’ discrete front-facing camera, which could be used to record the film as it is played in the cinema.

Laying ground rules for future technology

Aware that Glass’ battery is unable to record an entire film without needing to be recharged, Clapp said the ban was needed before the technology improves to a level where entire films could be captured in high quality.

“We accept that current Google Glass and other wearable tech has a limited capacity to record, and the quality is likely to be variable, but that is clearly a temporary state of affairs, and both aspects will improve significantly in the medium term," Clapp said. "We are attempting to set some ground rules for customers now at the outset of this technology.”

Mobile Choice exclusively revealed last week that Ambassador Theatre Group, which runs many of London’s West End theatres, will not ban customers from wearing Google Glass - so long as they have prescription lenses fitted for improving their eyesight.

A spokesperson for the theatre group confirmed to us that “if a visually impaired customer was using Google Glass to aid their sight, then we certainly wouldn’t be requesting that they turn off the device...our policy is that everyone has the right to access live theatre.”


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