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Movies Your Rights Online

UK Copyright Group Tells Cinemas to Ban Laptops 438

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-i-need-to-code-right-now dept.
Sockatume writes "Cinema chain Cineworld now has a policy banning anyone from carrying a laptop into a theatre, even if it is not used. The management claims that this is an anti-piracy move on the advice of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the much-mocked source of all kinds of dubious anti-piracy statements. When it was pointed out that the laptop had no camera, the management made a temporary exception. For customers, the message is clear: leave your laptop in the car. For pirates, the message is clear: there is more money to be made slinking around cinema car parks looking for laptop bags."
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UK Copyright Group Tells Cinemas to Ban Laptops

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  • Movies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:11AM (#29756785) Journal

    It's funny they had no problems with mobile phones that certainly have good cameras now a days, but with a laptop. Oh well, maybe that changes soon too.

    I'm just waiting them to take off our eyes while in movie theatre.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:14AM (#29756825)

    Important caveat, neatly snipped from the start of the post.

  • Re:Movies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:15AM (#29756841) Journal
    The cameras on laptops tend to be pretty cheap things that are designed for video conferencing. They'd be abysmal for recording a movie.

    On the other hand, smuggling in a reasonable quality camera would be fairly easy. I dare say it would be possible to bring in a tripod as well.
  • Idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:15AM (#29756869) Journal
    Banning laptops in a theatre to stop people from recording movies in a theatre makes about as much sense as banning people from drinking if they possess a valid drivers license because they could decide to drive home (the irony that one actually usually uses a driver's license to prove one's legal drinking age notwithstanding).
  • Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:16AM (#29756879)

    While it seems like a rather silly policy, why on earth would people be taking their laptops into the movie theater? Are there that many occasions when people don't go home prior to going to a movie?

    I certainly wouldn't want to hear the clickety-clack of someone typing behind me while I'm trying to watch a movie, any more than I want to hear the 12 year old telling his friend "okay, in about ten seconds this guy is going to jump out...".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:17AM (#29756891)

    You don't need a laptop in a theatre. You need the laptop for whatever you might be doing before/after watching the movie.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:17AM (#29756895) Journal
    Maybe you live in a city and don't use a car to go to the movie theater? E.g., you're out for the day, doing some work with your laptop, now this policy means you'll have to drop off the machine at home before catching the film.

    Or maybe conveniently located rentable lockers will start showing up at the theater, which you can pay to store all your potentially infringing devices. Dump your laptop, phone, and any pens or pencils which may be used to write down dialogue. Also, when you leave the theater, please make sure to stop by our convenient memory erasing station, so that you don't carry unauthorized memories out of the theater.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:18AM (#29756905) Journal
    I tend to walk to the cinema. I've also known people travel by bus and train. This is not the US. People don't all drive everywhere.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:22AM (#29756977)

    While it seems like a rather silly policy, why on earth would people be taking their laptops into the movie theater? Are there that many occasions when people don't go home prior to going to a movie?

    You don't have a job, do you?

  • Laptop bags. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nx (194271) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:23AM (#29756983)

    From summary: For pirates, the message is clear: there is more money to be made slinking around cinema car parks looking for laptop bags.

    What? Sigh. Once again, all together now: Piracy is not stealing.

    So that advice is for thieves, not pirates. But wait, there's one more oddity in the same sentence: "more money" - which assumes that money is made at all by piracy. It's sad that even among the IT elite (/.), such myths are propagated.

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:23AM (#29756993)

    I'd be ok for banning cellphones in a cinema.
    There's nothing worse than having a cellphone ring in the movie, and there's always some douche who forgot to turn it off and who can't find it in the dark in her huge purse, or some teenage dirtbag who just HAS to answer his buddy's text message right away with this distracting and blinding light by your side.

    And GUESS WHAT MPAA.... CELLPHONES HAVE CAMERAS, TOO!!! :-D

  • Re:Movies (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sadness203 (1539377) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:25AM (#29757019)
    Not only that, you would have to hold the laptop in a ankward position for more than one hour, without getting caught. Then you have the light on the laptop... A bit too much trouble for what it's worth IMHO.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icepick72 (834363) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:26AM (#29757035)
    My laptop always travels in my backpack wherever I go because I use it all the time, I'm always out and about. Before a movie I don't want to go all the way home to drop it off, and I cannot leave it at work without losing access to it until the next work day. The policy really puts a damper on portability for anyone who wants to be entertained by a movie. It's a step backward for a foolish reason.
  • Well at this rate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pvt_Ryan (1102363) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:27AM (#29757049)
    The only people in the cinema WILL BE the pirates.
    The rest of us will forego the spanish inquisition, the extortionate prices and the hassle in general of getting parked and bothering to go to the cinema, we will instead sit at home watching our bootlegged copy, pausing it to go to the loo and still have the poeple walking infront of the screen, laughing and coughing.

    Actually I feel like doing piracy vs cinema:

    Cinema:
    Pros
    • That surround sound and huge picture
    • The popcorn
    • The fact we are out in the real world with real strangers near us

      Cons:
    • No pausing for toilet / food
    • People talking
    • People walking in front of the screen
    • The High prices
    • being treated like a criminal
    • getting ID checked (if they happen to think you look under 21)
    • Getting parked on a busy night
    • getting a child minder

      Piracy:
      Pros:
    • cheaper than a cinema ticket
    • You dont have to leave the house
    • no id required
    • you can pause it to go to the loo.
    • No child minder required.
    • feels like the cinema, laughing and walking infront of the screen included.

      Cons:
    • bad quality (assuming you have a cam and not a screener).
    • You ARE a criminal
  • by sadness203 (1539377) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:29AM (#29757073)
    Well, where I live, we have subways, bus, and a great transportation system. I don't need a car, and yet I travel with my laptop. And I see a lot of people doing the same in the bus and subway. So much for sarcasms huh.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:29AM (#29757081) Homepage Journal

    Wow, way to be auto-centric. What about all the people who don't drive to the theater? And for that matter, who the fuck are you to say what is or is not a valid reason? I most certainly have gone to a movie directly from work; I have had many jobs which do not require me to dress like a trained monkey. And working from home is not the only reason to take a laptop back and forth; for a while I used my last work laptop as my home system too, because I was between powerful computers at home, and they did not mind.

    I think your comment is the most arrogant thing I've seen on slashdot in days. Not getting any at home?

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:30AM (#29757093)

    Yes lots of people do strange things like go watch a movie, go to a bar, go to a restaurant, go to the grocery store, etc. on their way home from work.

    Students sometimes even go watch a movie after studying at the library and so on.

    There's no plan to use the laptop, they just don't want to leave it in the car to get stolen. Or they're catching the subway and don't have a car to put it in.

  • A Better Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#29757145) Homepage

    For customers, the message is clear: leave your laptop in the car.

    I have a better answer: When they ask you to put your laptop in your car, ask for your money back and leave. Is it really worth being treated like a criminal to see that movie right now? Customer service matters. If the proprietor of some establishment is a dick, don't give him your money.

  • by srjh (1316705) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:36AM (#29757205)

    I wonder if this has more to do with the Twitter effect (see Brüno) than stopping piracy.

    It seems rather implausible (to be generous) that someone would try to illegally film a movie using a crappy webcam on your average laptop (particularly if they manage to do it with the laptop in the bag). If you think about how a laptop is likely to hurt them financially, the reason should be pretty clear.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:40AM (#29757269) Journal

    Where I live we have trains, bus, and a great transportation system. I don't need a car either, I walk. I have never seen anyone bring a laptop to a movie theater, ever. So much for sarcasms [sic].

  • Lost me here... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:43AM (#29757321)
    "After a short time a small boy appeared. Sorry I said, I want to see the manager.

    It turns out the small boy was the manager."


    Yeah... that kinda makes you sound like a prick. Waving around a BBC ID like it makes you special and somehow exempt from the rules everyone else has to follow isn't the most endearing quality either.
  • many small laptops can fit inside large coat pockets. anyone with a backpack may have a laptop. no one walks on the sidewalk with their shiny laptop cradled in their hands unprotected. so of course you don't see anyone carrying a laptop to any theater: they're securely under covers 99% of the time

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:03AM (#29757615) Journal

    Yeah it's a pretty stupid ruling, coming down from people who have no clue. I have a standard-def digital camera that fits inside my palm and can be easily hid inside a suit jacket..... that's all you need, not a laptop.

  • Re:Movies (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:09AM (#29757689)

    And submitters who think movie "pirates" would be interested in stealing peoples laptops out of their cars.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:18AM (#29757811) Homepage

    I have never seen anyone bring a laptop to a movie theater, ever.

    Maybe that's because they leave them in their bags instead of holding them up in the air and waving them around while shouting "Hey, everybody, look at my laptop!"

    Just a thought.

    Unless you were trying to say that you have never, ever seen anyone bring a bag more than 30 cm wide into a movie theatre, in which case I would have to ask you just what kind of movies legally bind people enjoy.

  • Re:Movies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nathrael (1251426) <(nathraelthe42nd) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:36AM (#29758073)
    Or maybe you went to cinema straight from school or work where you need your laptop with no chance to deposit it somewhere, or maybe you live somewhere out of the city and the next cinema is an hour of travel away so you take your laptop with you to do some work in the train, or...
  • Re:Idiotic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:54AM (#29758331)

    In some states a driver's license is the only valid form of identification to purchase alcohol. So those incapable of obtaining a driver's license due to disabilities cannot drink.

    (Though this may actually primarily apply to out-of-staters, as this anecdote comes to me via a friend who could not use her state ID card to purchase alcohol in Utah. Or maybe Nevada, I don't remember.)

    My exposure to that sort of case is that particular institutions implement an internal rule to not accept out of state non driver's license ID because the loss from the occasional lost sale this policy generates is significantly less than the loss from selling alcohol to a minor with a faked out of state non-driver's license ID (significant fines and loss of license to sell alcohol at all). I would bet that even a lawsuit based on the Americans with Disabilities Act would be cheaper than getting tagged for selling alcohol to a minor with a well forged out of state non-driver's license ID.

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frosty_tsm (933163) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:58AM (#29758393)

    Also, "leave your laptop in the car". Erm, what car? I couldn't even tell you where the nearest cinema with a car park is...

    Next time I travel to "the other side of the pond" as some say, I might be in some of these areas you speak of (but not to buy DVDs). Clearly, any UK instruction involving "leaving your laptop in the car" was written by someone who watches too much Top Gear and thinks everyone has a car or by someone thinking of the colonies.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:11AM (#29758559)

    Aside from the obvious absurdity of someone trying to record a movie with their laptop -- how much of a problem are off-screen recordings for the movie industry? I may be naive -- but I really have a hard time imagining someone saying -- "I was gonna go see this movie in the theater, but I have a copy that someone recorded with a video camera in the theater! This is just as good! Now I don't need to go see it!" Am I missing something here, or are these anti-piracy groups really that dense?

    Actually what they are afraid of is: " I was gonna go see this movie in the theater, but I have a copy that someone recorded with a video camera in the theater and now I know it sucks! I'm not going to waste my time and money going to the theater to see it." (see also someone else's comment about twits tweeting how bad the movie is).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:13AM (#29758601)

    Thanks, but if the babysitter I hired is telling me my house is burning down and/or my kids are in danger, guess what: I'm answering the phone regardless of the "inconvenience" of that bright light in your eyes.

    +3 Insightful, my ass. How about -12, remarkably fucking stupid.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:14AM (#29758619)
    No piracy, problem solved.
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:17AM (#29758645)
    You ARE a criminal

    I thought copyright infringement was a civil matter. Is that no longer the case?

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:19AM (#29758685)

    "I'm just waiting them to take off our eyes while in movie theatre."

    I don't bother with theaters. With modern home entertainment systems available, why pay to drive where my truck will get dinged or broken into in order to sit with a mob of loud retards who will ruin the movie experience?

    I can't pause the movie in the theater when I take a shit, can't re-run segments with fun violence and/or pert bewbies, and am limited to expensive theater junk food.

  • Re:Movies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:29AM (#29758809) Journal

    That just means when you arrive at the theater, and the owner refuses you entrace, you can yell, "Congratulations dumb shit. You just lost $20 worth of sales," and walk away.

    Businessmen hate losing money. It makes them hide in their office and cry. And it gives us, the citizens, power over them.

  • Re:Movies (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:36AM (#29758893) Journal

    Does this mean that I'll finally be able to enjoy a movie in a theater without some annoying person poking at their cellphone, either making noise or light?

    Those people are the reason I don't see movies in theaters and just watch them at home when they come out on DVD.

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcvos (645701) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:57AM (#29759197)

    Does this mean that I'll finally be able to enjoy a movie in a theater without some annoying person poking at their cellphone, either making noise or light?

    Those people are the reason I don't see movies in theaters and just watch them at home when they come out on DVD.

    Exactly. That's a much better reason to ban phones. Maybe if they managed to turn the cinema into a quality experience again, people'd be more willing to pay money for it.

  • by skeeto (1138903) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:38PM (#29759747)
    First of all, the chances of that happening are extremely low. Second, if it was happening there is nothing you could do about it from the movie theater. That's why you hired the baby sitter. If you're really so worried, you could just not go to the movies in the first place.
  • by jaavaaguru (261551) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @01:24PM (#29760427) Homepage

    What does this have to do with the United States? The article is about the UK. I'm sure copyright laws are different there.

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:13PM (#29761013)

    Steal a laptop out of a car? According to the MPAA, a movie pirate is a person who would steal the car [slashdot.org]!

    But hey, better you suffer a physical loss than they suffer an illusory loss.

    Me, I just want to get pictures of those brown dots they mar the movie with so I can use the pictures for purposes of public criticism, commentary, and parody.

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cream wobbly (1102689) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:01PM (#29761553)

    It's called "reciprocating". If you don't get why he was upset, you need help, chump.

  • Re:Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:10PM (#29761675)

    Or maybe you went to cinema straight from school or work where you need your laptop with no chance to deposit it somewhere, or maybe you live somewhere out of the city and the next cinema is an hour of travel away so you take your laptop with you to do some work in the train, or...

    Moral of the story. That is what you get for trying to pay for your entertainment.

    Now people will learn their lesson and pirate it instead. Cheaper, higher quality entertainment, no people harassing you (be it other movie goers or those that are employed to show you a movie), drinks and food of a much higher quality and priced roughly 10x cheaper, and you can base it all around your own schedule.

    For some reason I would have assumed these businesses would prefer to, you know, do business with you... But clearly that is not the message they are giving.

  • Re:Movies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kalriath (849904) * on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:21PM (#29762741)

    Ah, but the question is - do you block people from entering just on the basis they have a phone/laptop, or do you advise them "please don't use those in here"? This is all about people not even being allowed in with these items - it makes perfect sense to ask them not to use them.

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