Google Glass wearers have one fewer place to sport their wearable devices. Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League made his company’s policy official today, announcing that the cinema chain will ban use of Google Glass once house lights dim and trailers begin. The issue of allowing Google Glass wearers to use the head-mounted gadgets in movies made headlines earlier this year when a Columbus, Ohio man was interrogated for wearing his Glass in an AMC theater screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Drafthouse Cinemas, which operates theaters in Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, and New York and is expanding to California, waited to take an official stance until Google Glass users began bringing the devices into their locations.
“We’ve been talking about this potential ban for over a year,” League told Deadline. “Google Glass did some early demos here in Austin and I tried them out personally. At that time, I recognized the potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas. I decided to put off a decision until we started seeing them in the theater, and that started happening this month.” The move makes Google Glass the latest addition to the Drafthouse Cinemas black list which already includes movie talkers, texters, and Madonna.
Google Glass’ built-in video recording capability has raised privacy issues over filming in public spaces, but theater owners’ concerns revolve around Public Enemy #1 for exhibitors: Piracy. AMC declared the wearing of any video-capable device “not appropriate for the movie theater” following the Ohio incident. League clarified that the Google Glass policy will be enforced on a case by case basis, with consideration to users wearing Google Glass as their primary eyewear. “It will be case by case, but if it is clear when they are on, clear when they are off, will likely be OK,” he Tweeted.
“I realize that technology may change and this type of device may eventually become widely adopted and even replace traditional glasses,” he said. “Down the road our policies may have to morph. Given the technology that exists today, however, I decided that banning the device while movies are playing is the best decision for us right now.”