Is Warner Bros. Filming Audiences In An Attempt To Stop Piracy?

Here’s the creepiest complaint we’ve received in a long, long time. Reader Sam says he was filmed by a security guard contracted by Time/Warner during a recent showing of The Invasion at an AMC movie theater.

When he complained about it to customer service, they told him “Time Warner/Warner Bros had contracted a security company to film movie theater audiences around the country during the opening weekend of its movies in an effort to prevent piracy.” Ew! We think this is scary. If we saw some potential psycho filming us during a movie we’d be weirded out and we’d leave. Especially if it was during a (sort-of) remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Do not go to sleep. Warner Bros. will film you.

We emailed Time Warner for comment, but haven’t heard back. Here’s Sam’s letter:

Dear Consumerist,
Last night (Aug. 19) myself and a friend decided to venture to the local movie theater (AMC Lowes Georgetown 14) to catch the 7:35pm showing of The Invasion. The movie started on time with a moderately full theater and immediately I notice an older gentleman who looked to be about 60 standing in the corner of the theater. Sporting a black suit and a black briefcase, he began to film the audience during the movie. Every 5-10 minutes he would sweep the audience with his video camera, then turn it off and just watch us, then turn the camera back on and sweep again. Now being in Washington DC people are very security conscious and at first I thought he might have been Secret Service but he only stayed in the theater filming for about 45 minutes.

After the movie I went to the Customer Service desk to inquire if they knew about this incident. The manager behind the desk informed me that Time Warner/Warner Bros had contracted a security company to film movie theater audiences around the country during the opening weekend of its movies in an effort to prevent piracy. While I believe steps should be taken to curb piracy, this was one of the most unnerving experiences of my life, and I was not only person that felt this way. I overheard at least 4 other people complain to customer service about this incident, with 2 of them stating that if this ever happened again they would stop using this particular chain of theaters. I was quite surprised at the reaction of the customer service employee, he did not seem to to care one bit that people were opening telling him they would stop using this theater and he brushed off the criticism by shrugging his shoulders and just stared blankly back at those of us who were complaining and passed the blame to Time Warner/Warner Bros.

The question is, what does Time Warner/Warner Bros do with these video tapes? How long are they stored? Is there a massive database of these tapes somewhere? While I do know that laws allow for photography of people without their permission in public places but does this apply to a a movie theater since it is a private business? And if it is not allowed, I was not informed by AMC Lowes that I would be filmed during the movie so what are the legal ramifications of that action?

This email is also being sent to Craig Ramsey who is the Chief Financial Officer for AMC Entertainment and is listed as their Media Contact on their SEC filings and Craig Hoffman of Warner Bros who is listed as their Anti-Piracy press contact.

-Sam

We’re waiting anxiously for Warner to tell us it’s not true, that they hired the creepy guy with the video camera to scare people who went to see a scary movie, because the idea that Warner Bros. will be filming us during a movie is enough to put us off the whole thing.

UPDATE: Sam writes to tell us that the CSR he spoke to originally was mistaken and the scary Warner Bros. thug wasn’t filming, but was, in fact, using night vision goggles. Sam writes:

This afternoon I received an email from the Director of Guest Services for AMC Theaters, I spoke with her on the phone and she was extremely apologetic about the incident. She also wanted to clear up some misinformation provided by the AMC Customer Service Representative. The man in the suit was not in fact filming the audience, he was using a night vision scope. She assured me that AMC would never allow filming of the audience. Apparently the Georgetown 14 theater has been recently hit by pirates and this was part of the effort put on by the studio to combat such piracy. I explained to her that if this type of audience surveillance was going to happen theater goers need to be notified and she wholeheartedly agreed.

She said that she would be discussing the incident further with the manager of the theater and the CSR that I spoke with after the movie and then speak with the studio about the incident to see what can be done in the future. I was also provided with free movie passes and was told that I would be receiving an official letter of apology from AMC.

While certainly not as creepy as the scenario Sam originally described, being watched while watching a movie certainly is distracting. When Sam asked the AMC what was going on they should have been able to tell him.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    You don’t have any expectation of privacy in a public space, but I’d say that you could at least talk to a lawyer about this experience and see what they have to say. While I’m not necessarily advocating suing, I do think it might be a good thing if these people received lawyer nastygrams from customers’ lawyers.

    I have never, ever seen a disclosure on a ticket that I might be filmed — only warned that I can’t have a camera in a theater. If I can’t, why can someone else? Furthermore, due to the nature of a theater I feel I am safe from being recorded by anyone.

    I would have walked out and demanded a refund and not even waited til the end of the movie.

    What’s disturbing is that AMC is the only theater that provides captioned shows in my area that I am aware of and I have been using their (unfairly limited – wheelchair users get accomodated any time, but I don’t) captioned shows to see movies while they’re still in theaters.

    If this ever happens to me I will seriously consider going back to waiting for the captioned DVD.

  2. scooling says:

    I doubt he was actually video taping the crowd, in all likleyhood he was using a night vision camera to ensure that the movie was not being pirated. Being a theatre manager I have been present for hundreds of screenings and not once have I witnessed a screening audience being taped. The guard sweeping the crowd every few minuted with the camera is standard practice. Finally AMC or any other exhibitor does not have anything to do with the screenings as they only rent out the space for the screening and anything that happens inside security checks etc. is the responsibilty of the renter.

  3. roche says:

    this was one of the most unnerving experiences of my life

    Don’t get out of the house much do you?

  4. CumaeanSibyl says:

    A movie theatre is sort of a public space, but you wouldn’t expect somebody to be filming you at a restaurant, either (excluding security cameras at the register — I’m talking about some guy with a camcorder filming you while you eat). This is intrusive and weird.

    The customer service guy was probably copping an attitude because he knew there was absolutely nothing he could do about the WB guys being there, and that even if his bosses could do something, they probably wouldn’t.

  5. Lewis says:

    cool that he saw it at the amc-nee-loews 14 in georgetown since much of the filming was done across the street.

    for better or worse, more and more of our lives are winding up on someone’s tape somewhere. i don’t really buy the “as long as you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about” line, but what else are you going to do? become a shut-in?

  6. dualityshift says:

    isn’t filming inside the actual theatre, an act of piracy?

  7. Buran says:

    @roche: Actually, it is rather unnerving to be filmed by someone you don’t know who looks like a hitman in a place where it’s dark and you can’t really see what they are up to.

    Would you not be intimidated if I pointed my pro-caliber zoom lens and SLR at you and started clicking away? Especially if you weren’t told ahead of time and weren’t asked first and the resulting photos would clearly show your face and you didn’t know what I would do with the pictures?

  8. Erskine says:

    I’ll take my Scanner Darkly “scramble suit” now, please…

  9. Buran says:

    @dualityshift: Only if you are doing it inside a place with a posted no cameras rule and aren’t exceeding fair use limits. And even then it is not a criminal issue.

  10. Erskine says:

    I wonder what they would have done if someone had gotten up and stood in front of the camera?

  11. jaredgood1 says:

    Forget filming, just hire bouncers. Big ones.

  12. eelmonger says:

    The guy could have been just sweeping the theater with a camera to look for the infrared glow of other cameras. But even if he was recording, I don’t see what the difference between a security camera on the ceiling and one in this guy’s hand. Although it might have been nice if the theater had said something beforehand since it is a tad weird to have some random person filming you with no further explanation.

  13. Erskine says:

    I wonder what would have happened if someone had gotten up and stood in front of the camera?

  14. sp3nc3 says:

    They’ll pull a stunt like this, and yet continue to claim that it’s piracy that’s hurting ticket sales? Nice.

  15. Techguy1138 says:

    I think that you can be filmed for security purposes inside a private business, ala 7-11. I believe the camera needs to be in plain view or there needs to be a public sign.

    Still very creepy since they should have signs at the entrance so you can choose to see a different showing if you don’t feel being treated like a criminal is a fun Friday out.

    Suing them sounds expensive and I don’t know what lawyer would want to take such a suit with questionable financial damages. You could of course be wealthy and willing to spend the cash on principle.

    I would recommend dealing with your local town government. It should be fairly easy to pass a local ordnance or law against it.

    I guess I won’t be seeing that movie until it comes out on Net Flicks.

  16. Karl says:

    It’s possible the security guy was just using a night vision system. They’ve been using those for a few years now at pre-release screenings.

  17. @jaredgood1: Yeah, what good does catching someone on tape actually do? How are they supposed to track you down? It’s not impossible but it seems like it would be more effective to kick them out when you see them doing it.

    Even if they wanted it as proof, doesn’t it still make sense to just film the person when you see them recording instead of filming everyone all the time?

  18. umonster says:

    Who would want to pirate The Invasion?

  19. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Karl: Hmm I wonder what they would do if I brought my nigh vision gear in and sat and looked at them with it for a few minutes every so often…

  20. timmus says:

    As others have said, there is no expectation of privacy on private property when it has the consent of the owner and doesn’t violate other laws (i.e. voyeurism and other mischief). The way to stick it to them is to take your business elsewhere or don’t buy the Time Warner product.

  21. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @umonster: LOL I was thinking that myself.

  22. Spacks says:

    I think that there is still a legal question at work here. If you aren’t informed of the recording that is technically a violation of privacy I’d say. In Ohio a recent ruling would only require that you hold up a sign saying you don’t consent to being recorded. At that point they would be in violation of case-precedence within the State of Ohio.

  23. Sandtiger says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t they trying to get more people into theaters to see movies? Wouldn’t a program like this have the OPPOSITE effect?

  24. FREAKHEAD says:

    How about an expectation of people not freaking talking, text messaging or kicking my seat during a movie. Obnoxious theater goers is what stopped me from going. Why should I pay all that money for a ticket and snacks to have people around act like they are in a coffee shop.

    How bout they post someone inside the theater to stop that crap, I’d go back in a second.

    The music and movie industry sure do look at their problems ass backwards.

  25. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    If it was a nightvision set up, it would still weird me out but it’s not the same as actually being filmed (which is what the minimum-wage counter jockey said it was). If you’re being actually taped, I imagine you’d have to be informed of it on your ticket or before entering (same way they have to inform you that you’re not allowed to bring in food or beverages)–so the customer has the choice of whether or not to sign up for it.

    For what it’s worth, I live in NYC and I’ve been to plenty of screenings and early releases and I’ve never seen this happen before. I get my bags checked and that’s it. For what it’s also worth, I’m still boycotting the movies until they put out something worth seeing and quit charging exorbitant prices on crappy food.

  26. theblackdog says:

    @scooling: How do you know the guard doesn’t press the record button?

  27. supra606 says:

    If this ever happens while I am in a theater (not very often these days anyway) I will be walking out and demanding a refund immediately. I will not pay to have someone spying on me and I sincerely hope the general population will agree so it becomes financially unfeasible for them to continue this and other practices like it. When did people stop standing up for what they believe in?

  28. Trackback says:

    Mark Frauenfelder: The Consumerist ran a letter from a guy in Washington DC who said a man was videoing the audience at a screening of The Invasion.

  29. Scazza says:

    I will second the Night Vision excuse too. I have seen it happen a few times recently, its just a night vision camera trying to pick up the IR from camcorders and also to blind out the recorder with its own IR…

  30. axiomatic says:

    A. Throw popcorn at the creepy guy with the camcorder.
    B. Spill a “Big Gulp” soda on the camera AND the creepy guy with the camcorder.
    C. Tell the oldest lady in the theater that the guy with the camcorder is filming her boobies.
    D. Bring a large magnet.
    E. All of the above.

  31. Scazza says:

    Well, what you could do is bring your basic IR remote for your TV from home, get a few of them and a few friends and just point at the guy with the IR remote and it will cause the camera to pick up bright spots and shit… and if they think ur sporting a camera u can just show them the remotes… there is no sign anywhere saying “No tv remote controls” anywhere in the theatre…

  32. Trai_Dep says:

    Third the night-vision scope. And a guy that doesn’t get out enough.

  33. goodkitty says:

    In Soviet America, movie films YOU!

  34. rhombopteryx says:

    @Buran:

    How about you leave the mis-stating of the law to the MPAA, especially when 1-6 years of federal prison time is on the line? While this doesn’t address this post’s point about skeezy old men recording the viewers, unauthorized recording of a movie in a movie theater is a federal felony, regardless of how little you record and any arguments about fair use. State law is often similar. Both usually have provisions allowing movie theaters to tackle, kidnap, and lock you up while waiting for cops, too. Harsh and wrongheaded, sure, but its teh best law money can buy.
    [www4.law.cornell.edu]

  35. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    @Buran: I work with photographers and videographers… seems like you need to make the audience aware this is occuring. And sometimes you need them to sign releases (ie filming a music video at a night club).

    …And New York is requiring you get a permit to shoot film.

    This is odd and creepy. I didn’t notice anyone filming me when I saw it this weekend.

    …Liked the movie. It was entertaining and they resolved much of the silliness of the prior versions.

  36. d0x says:

    Just one more reason not to go to the movies anymore. Dont these companies know more often then not the people filming for piracy do so from the projection booth so they can also get the direct feed audio?

    Maybe those junk p2p copies come from some shmoe in the audience but the ones that are being sold on the streets generally dont.

    My GF worked in a theatre long ago and the kids were always letting people into the projection rooms.

  37. Kryndis says:

    I’m going to ignore the privacy concerns and simply point out that this sounds like it would be extremely distracting when I’m sitting trying to watch a movie. Already I have to ignore the morons who think they’re too important to turn off their cellphones.

    Adding another distraction (and one with a creepy big brother feel to it, no less) is not the way to entice me to the theater more often. It’s a really good way to get me to download a pirated copy and watch it in the comfort of my own home however.

  38. Wubbytoes says:

    Maybe someone wanted to know what kind of people would actually pay money to go see that movie.

  39. drjayphd says:

    You sure they weren’t just looking for photographic evidence that people actually paid to see “The Invasion”?

  40. Sonnymooks says:

    Its kind of odd, why didn’t the Time Warner guy just do it from the viewing booth, where no one would have seen him doing it, and the audience would never have known?

    Also, the theatre owner is somewhat helpless, if he says no to a time warner demand, they can say we won’t let you show this movie (i.e. for big chains, bluff, for small theaters, it would be the truth).

    Lets call a spade a spade here, if a particular movie is not playing at that theater, consumers who want to watch it, won’t go there.

    I fully expect at some point, to see movie theaters one day go the bar/department store/every place model, where you have hidden cameras, and a security guard (who may or may not be in uniform).

    Also to answer the question, what if he did see someone recording the movie, the simple answer is call the police, it is not like the bootlegger is going to leave, they are going to want to film the whole movie, the cops come, and security guy gives the cops the evidence.

  41. mantari says:

    The “Theater Experience” is that much better than watching movies at home!
    No, really!

  42. VashTS544 says:

    @Sonnymooks;
    As far as I’m concerned, the IR in night vision cameras is directional. The LED lights are designed to shoo the light straight forward. I don’t see how it would work from the projection boot. But I agree that this seems shady. I mean, who knows, this guy could have been the equivalent of Agent 47 (Hitman video games) in real life, and snap the necks of those filming the video. Seeing what the RIAA and MPAA does to people who do pirate stuff, I wouldn’t put it past them just to grotesquely murder them, after sucking all their money out of their banks first, of course. Hell, you can’t even film/take a picture of a person at my public high school with out them signing a waiver stating that they agree to be in this shot or something.

  43. hoo_foot says:

    Dear Time Warner,

    Thanks for giving me yet another reason not to visit my local movie theater. As if the poor selection of films and the high prices were not enough, but amazingly, you found yet another way to antagonize your customers! You must be taking notes from the RIAA.

    I haven’t visited a movie theater in over two years. The added bonus of being filmed by creepy men won’t entice me back.

    Sincerely,

    Hoo Foot

  44. jmschn says:

    Dear Time Warner, can you tell me where you will have the guy with a night vision camera? I want to participate!

  45. jmschn says:

    Here’s a novel idea..don’t watch movie screenings or when it first comes out..it’s less packed anyway!

  46. jmschn says:

    Here’s a novel idea…don’t watch screenings or movies when they are first released! it’s less packed anyway!

  47. ndavies says:

    Did you know that bootlegs don’t come with distracting guys in the corner? Way to up the benefits of piracy, Warner!

    Seriously though, escalate the camera war. Let’s get pics of these guys on the internet, ASAP.

  48. Benny Gesserit says:

    Here’s an idea. Leave the theatre, call the police and say “A creepy looking pervert is standing at the edge of the audience – near some women and children (if they’re over there, of course) – and it looks like he’s trying to FILM them or something.”

    Sit back and wait for the fun to start. Worst case, the cops disrupt the showing so badly you get your money back.

  49. OwenCatherwood says:

    @mantari: Yeah, a 48″ HDTV, 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, comfortable chairs/sofas/bed, private viewing at your own leisure and pace (including *gasp* rewind and bonus features not seen in theaters)… No way that could beat out a movie theater…

  50. RossMcD says:

    so now going to the theaters means paying up the wazoo for tickets, food, and beverages…AND getting treated like a criminal?

    all the more reason to say fuck the MPAA and their slowly sinking business model. i’ll rent movies and watch them at home. most of the movies coming out in theaters these days are crap anyway.

  51. superbmtsub says:

    Where are the rednecks when you need them? Would be cool to see someone punch the creepy video recording hired clowns.

  52. FLConsumer says:

    How amateur-ish! With the technology available out there today, there’s no reason to have the guy actually stand in the corner the whole time. Throw a cheap $30-50 B&W board-cam security camera in there and you’ll get the same effect.

    Regarding the IR LEDs, the cameras usually only turn those on if you’re selecting “night mode”. I’ve yet to find a camera where these can’t be disabled. While LEDs tend to be directional, they’d light up like a beacon in a theater with any sort of video camera, let alone nightvision

    Jim(Canuck) — GREAT idea! Make sure you think that he’s “scouting out locations for a possible terrorist attack” and you’ll really get them going.

  53. LorenPechtel says:

    For it to be a movie camera doesn’t make much sense–if they did get somebody filming what good would it do to know after the fact? It’s not likely they could make a positive ID off such a recording and they wouldn’t even have a list of suspects to start from.

    It makes far more sense for it to be a night vision device to let the guy look for people with cameras so they could be caught right then and there. It’s possible it’s also recording to use as evidence if they want to prosecute but if so they’ll wipe it and start over next time, there would be no reason to keep a bunch of old tapes that don’t show anything.

  54. claybaby says:

    I took a quick read of the Warner Bros. privacy policy and found it only addressed privacy (or total lack thereof) on their website. No assertions regarding the Warner Bros. privacy practices when data collected somewhere other than online. Yep, that sure makes me want to trust WB…

  55. Norm-CFL says:

    He was actually filming Up Skirt Theater video #5; were you the one in the third row, with no panties?

    /I wish this was not a real possibility.

  56. lestat730 says:

    little do they know that the guy filming used some fine social engineering skills to get into the theater and freely film a pirated copy of the very film they thought he was there to protect!

  57. BrianH says:

    “…recently hit by pirates” — WTF?!?!?!?!?

    For the love of all that is holy, what kinda crap is this????

    Do they think the fuggin’ theater is some ship on the high seas? Did the pirates board the ship and make the theater patrons walk the plank?

    The language and tactics have reached such a ridiculous level that my 60-year-old church-going Mom rolls her eyes and calls them MAFIA a bunch of clowns and thugs. ( MAFIA = Music And Film Industry Associations, aka “MPAA” and “RIAA”, for anyone confused by that.)

    MAFIA – when you’ve lost the community of law-abiding retirees, you’re so screwed. You’re coming across like the spoiled kid on the playground who huddles around all his toys, protecting them, while all the other kids have fun & laugh at the little loser.

    MPAA, you suck.

  58. arachnophilia says:

    yes, but who’s watching the people watching the watchers?

  59. mind says:

    [thepiratebay.se]

    really.

    it’s just not worth it to go see things in the theatre any more. if they want to make the experience (which is the only reason to see a movie in the theatre) unpleasant, then vote with your wallet, save your $10, and download the movie

  60. lizajane999 says:

    A quick search I just did on a BitTorrent tracker showed three cammed versions of The Invasion were posted on the 19th before noon (Europe time.)

    Warner Bros. was preventing what?

  61. Husker-fan says:

    I’m with the people who will just watch movies at home.

    I stopped going to the theater years ago … about the time of Jurassic Park 2 … because it was more cost efficient to actually buy the movie or rent it.

    Knowing that they now treat you like a suspected pirate until you can prove that you’re not, just does nothing to motivate me to head back to the local multiplex.

    I’m satisfied with my widescreen TV, surround sound system, comfortable couch, and popcorn and soda that don’t require a personal loan from the bank. And you just haven’t lived until you’ve watched a movie eating a nice steak right off the grill. Nothing like a little “Saw III” and a juicy porterhouse.

  62. chrispiss says:

    The CS guy didn’t care because he’s probably a minimum wage kid who hears complaints all day.

  63. nctrnlboy says:

    I understand that some movie theaters also employ green-eye-nightvision-goggled security/ushers patrolling the aisles of the theater to catch bootleggers as well. I would think that would detract from the over-all movie experience…. being spied upon by green-eyed goons in the dark.

    Ah well… just adds one more annoyance to the “wonderful” experience of going to the theater. :(

  64. Jordan Lund says:

    There’s no problem a few cans of pepper spray cannot solve. The movie theater is private property, the studios have no jurisdiction to do anything like this.

    OTOH I heard the movie sucked and only took in 6 million nationwide over the week-end so I guess the studio got what they deserved.

  65. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Now all we need to do is get the Time Warner guy in our pockets. He’s already got a camera, turn around and pirate us some movies!!

  66. arkaycee says:

    What if you brought in your own (bright but narrow beam) flashlight and shined it right at the “perv”/”terrorist” in the night vision goggles to make an ID on that probable criminal later?

  67. Baz says:

    Unless you are holding a camcorder, you have absolutely nothing to fear. In fact, many movie theater chains have CC cameras installed in their theaters, where the regularly record audiences for security purposes.

  68. Baz says:

    P.S.

    You must not have ever been to a sneak/advance screening before…the night vision monitoring is standard procedure.

  69. Mr. Gunn says:

    Get up, ask for a refund, and leave. That’s the only way to stop this.

  70. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    Cross your legs, ladies, and tell your boyfriend to stop it with the tub-of-buttered-popcorn trick.

  71. blah2 says:

    Sorry to break it to you, but most modern AMC’s already have IR scanners that activate during the movie that sweep for video lens in the audience.

  72. killavanilla says:

    One more crappy movie I don’t have to see.
    Ummm, they want to start filming us now? Okay, well then – I would like a refund for my movie ticket and to leave.

  73. dualityshift says:

    @Buran: Tell that to the girl who filmed 20 seconds of Transformers to show her brother.

  74. Like others have said, it was probably a night vision camera and it is standard fare for pr-escreens especially. They sweep the crowd for cameras and make sure no one is recording the movie. What sense would it make to have video tape of a crowd unless you planned on using it for trailers or something like that?

    CC cameras make sense too because you could do the same thing.

  75. snowferret says:

    I am a security guard in Ottawa, and I can say a little about this. We have been doing something similar here for years now. But it isn’t a camera, in’t only a night vision monicle. Though it could be easily mistaken for a camera. Also it’s only during those promo screenings that you get to see when the radio stations give out free tickets. This sounds like it could be a little different though. I found the whole process rather stupid considering they did not do the same durring the regular showings. I guess this is their response to that. I think a lot of people will be unhapy about this.

  76. Dan_11 says:

    A few years back i used to work in an Odeon cinema in the UK, and when one of the Harry Potter movies came out, Warner Bros sent us some night vision goggles to check on the audience with. Unfortunately this practice isn’t new…

  77. puka_pai says:

    Q: Night vision goggles/monocle?

    A: Bright light.

    Problem solved.

  78. I would’ve sent it to the EFF as well…

  79. Erzengel says:

    i dont know if its legal or not, i dont give a damn. if i pay for a ticket to see a movie, i have some expectations, and one is to be able to watch the movie without anyone disturbing me. if a mororn starts talking too loud, i get him out, one way or another. so, if some suit takes out something that looks like a camera, and starts filing, i will get him removed from the hall, one way or another. thats why i paid a ticket for. and if the law says there are rigth, i dont give a damn either, i´ll watch movies at home then. law used to be a matter of justice, but has become a matter of money.

  80. RAREBREED says:

    They do that at the AMC in San Francisco, too! The new Century theater in the mall downtown also has those security guards with night vision goggles! I went to a screening for the Grudge 2, and was trying to figure out what they had. Once the movie started, you could see the green glow…

  81. Buran says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: I’ve got familiarity with the rules, too, being a hobbyist photographer — they failed to tell anyone they were filming AND they failed to obtain releases from anyone filmed. Tsk tsk tsk. Bad.

  82. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Go download the plans to make an LED flashlight. Make a little teeny one, but buy the brightest IR LEDs you can get. Then when you see this jerk-off looking in your direction, you blind the facist fuck! All without disturbing your fellow patrons.

  83. thomas_callahan says:

    some guy watching me watch the movie would ruin the experience for me, regardless of any arguments about anybody’s rights. Couldn’t they find a more discreet way to do that? Peephole or something? Creepier and more sinister maybe, but if they told me about it ahead of time it would probably bother me a lot less than having somebody sit there and watch me. How are you supposed to enjoy the movie like that? I haven’t been to a theater in a long time, and if I go and this is happening, I’m leaving.

  84. boodle says:

    erm “its just a night vision camera trying to pick up the IR from camcorders and also to blind out the recorder with its own IR…”
    From the dodgy copies I’ve seen, people don;t film with night-vision, or with IR boosting. IR boosting would only light up the screen, not the reflected light (I think thats right), and night-vision, well the only type of proper night-vision I;ve seen either makes the picture go green (that would be blinded by an IR lamp since it fires out an IR beam and boosts the reflection) or takes long-exposure frames so the picture goes jumpy. The other alternative is to use high-ISO setting which would be grainy (hence general crap quality of theatre-pirated films), or a better camera with larger lense (bigger light-gathering ability) which would tend to stand out more, or a better chip. None of these would be visible by a night-vision goggle (except the actual camera if it wasn;t hidden) and none would be blinded by an IR beam.

    What you guys are maybe seeing is a coverup. So they had some piracy recently, it would make sense to go film every group of people. Later when you catch a copy and use those dots and find out which theatre and which spool was copied, you can go to your tape and find the guy doing it, angle of the screen, etc.
    Of course filming you without consent by commercial entities is I;m guessing illegal or at best a grey area (room for a lawsuit or two) so they are hastily saying there was no recording going on – no laws against watching people without permission.

    Thats my guess.