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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 @10:11AM (#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.

    • Re:Movies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by selven (1556643) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:12AM (#29756809)

      Good thing we have engineers working hard to remove the smartphone/laptop distinction.

      • Re:Movies (Score:5, Funny)

        by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:32AM (#29758017)

        Good thing we have engineers working hard to remove the smartphone/laptop distinction.

        Not to worry, the film industry is hard at work on legislation to make engineers illegal.

    • Re:Movies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:15AM (#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.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sadness203 (1539377)
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        I agree, and hooking up some kind of reasonable quality camera to the laptop simply makes more complicated the "adding a reasonable quality camera".

    • Bionic eyes (Score:2, Interesting)

      by davidwr (791652)

      I can't wait until they try to ban the man with the camera in his eye [techradar.com].

      I'm sure he doesn't welcome his new robotic eyeball's overlords.

    • Re:Movies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Animaether (411575) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:29AM (#29757079) Journal

      Last time a theater employee even asked if he could check my stuff, there were three things in the bag I was carrying around...

      - A high quality digital still camera also capable of HD video, mounted on a tripod.
      - A smartphone with less-than-worthless 640x480 noise-o-vision video
      - 2 bottles of Aquarius 'Red Blast' ('peach' flavor sport drink).

      ( Quick backstory: I ended up at the theatre because it was raining out. Not so bad in general, but I was making a photo trip on the bike and the weather report said the rainshower should last 2 hours tops. I was in the area of the theatre, so I figured I'd hop in there, catch a movie, and by the time I'd get out I could continue on my shoot. )

      Employee: we can't allow those inside
      Me: oh, I know, but I'm just on a shoot; I can leave the battery with the reception if you want
      Employee: no, no.. the bottles. We can't allow those inside; we don't sell those (they sell regular and whatever the hell flavor the blue-colored Aquarius is)
      Me: ... wait, I can't take the bottles - which I'm only carrying for outside; I just got a Coke Zero at the bar, see? *holds up coe zero* - but the camera is okay?
      Employee: yes.. sorry, policy
      Me: o-kay.
      Employee: Could we put those in storage for you, perhaps?

      I guess they already knew that the movie had been available for download for weeks, as a telesync, probably snatched up in the U.S. with a proper audio feed, and didn't much care about anybody bringing in cameras.

      But the drinks.. oh noes, the drinks!

      • I suppose it's possible that the policy does not exclude "still" cameras. They may have had more of an issue if the camera was an obvious video camera.

        Having said that, movie theatres supposedly make next to nothing on ticket sales. That money goes to the owners of the film. Where the theatres make money is selling 5 cents worth of popcorn for $4.50 and 2 cents worth of soda-pop for $5.00. By bringing in your sports drink means you're unlikely to buy their overpriced merchandise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "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.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:14AM (#29756825)

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

  • Idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt.lynx@bc@ca> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:15AM (#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).
  • Laptop bags. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nx (194271) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:23AM (#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 sopssa (1498795) *

      Whoooosh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sadness203 (1539377)
      You mean... I'll not get paid for all the seeding I've done ? CRAPS!
    • by aicrules (819392)
      Most people don't camcorder a theater movie for their personal collection. They do it to get a zero day pirate tape made that DOES get sold. There absolutely are pirates who make money selling pirated movies and software. It definitely is a distinct from someone who shares stuff freely, even though that really isn't fair use, and does at least partially steal from the publishing company.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:47AM (#29757385)

      Pirates do make money, not only through piracy, but drug dealing, selling babies, and holding the Earth itself to ransom with their deadly Asteroid Ray. I'm apalled that you would even question this.

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:23AM (#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

    • You need to patronize theaters where, if you use a cell phone, they'll TAKE YOUR ASS OUT [ifc.com].

  • Well at this rate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pvt_Ryan (1102363) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:27AM (#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
    • Piracy:
      Pros:

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mornedhel (961946)

      Actually, I'd put "popcorn" under Cinema/Cons.

      In my country, it used to be that food was completely prohibited within movie theaters. I never really understood the obsession with eating popcorn while you watch a movie and thought it was purely an American thing, that it'd never take here.

      Then food became allowed (well, food sold within the theater did), and whaddaya know, people did start eating in the theater.

      Oh the horror! The noise of opening bags of crisps! THE INFERNAL CRUNCHING EVERYWHERE!

      Seriously, i

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:17PM (#29758645)
      You ARE a criminal

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

  • i can understand leaving it in your bag if you're coming from work, but why would you take it out?

  • What do you do if your company policy doesn't allow a laptop to be left in a car or hotel room?
  • A Better Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:34AM (#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 @10:36AM (#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.

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:37AM (#29757215)
    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?
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:11PM (#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).

  • No laptops? I guess I'll just have to bring my desktop computer and CRT into the cinema, like the Impromptu Anywhere Starbucks prank.

  • Put your laptop in a backpack. It's safer from idiots and thiefs both. If it's a good one, it's healthier than a laptop bag slung over your shoulder. And it gets in the way far less often. (Just be sure not to put small valuables in it like your wallet, if they might easily be stolen without noticing the weight loss/fiddling, especially in noisy or busy environments.)

  • Yes the camera's that are built into laptops are usally pretty piss poor quality, but theres nothing stopping someone taking a USB video camera in as well. It wouldn't surprise me if there are a few tiny ones that record with good footage, and connected to a laptop, would have plenty of recording space unlike a cellphone which most won't have the room/power to store movie length footage

    I still think its a stupid idea. You can't stop cam-rips without creating a hostile viewing enviroment, even then i doubt y

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

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:43AM (#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.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @10:46AM (#29757361) Homepage

    Who are these people who watch theater video camera recordings of movies? That's really sad. At leaste be a self-respecting pirate and get a decent copy.

  • Call me old fashioned, but who the hell takes their laptop with them to the movies anyway?
  • by Peregr1n (904456) <ian.a.ferguson@gmail.com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:00AM (#29757569) Homepage
    I don't have a car. I commute by bus and ferry. There's a Cineworld on my way home that I frequent, but now cannot as I carry my laptop to work every day (I use it to get in a bit of work/browsing on the 2 x 30 minute ferry crossing daily commute).

    Cineworld Southampton have therefore just lost my business. This is particularly stupid of them, as quite often (even with newly released films) I can count the audience members on my fingers.
  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:01AM (#29757585) Homepage

    Myself and friends used to emit a fairly loud "Yarrrrrrrrrrr" every time a "Piracy is a crime" warning came up at the cinema. Sometimes even heard an answering one from across the cinema.

    Don't know how it is in other chains but at Vue cinemas in the UK they now use night vision cameras to monitor the people watching the film. ]I once saw a spoof anti-piracy ad involving night vision and silenced sniper rifles - life imitating satire, so I guess I know the next step.

    Secondly, this monitoring strikes me as being like the millimetre wave scanners at airports. Sure it's nominally for justifiable purposes but every time I see a message saying they're monitoring us with night vision for copyright purposes I have a mental image of a couple making out in the dark at the back of a cinema and a security guard in an office somewhere watching them using light-enhancing CCTV going "Oooh, go on! You dirty minx! Oooh, you like that, do you?". Seriously, copyright or not, it's not OK to watch cinema goers watching the film - that's plain just creepy.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:14PM (#29758619)
    No piracy, problem solved.

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