tip off

Apple to ban iPhone users from filming live concerts?

On the one hand, I think it’s hilarious anyone can turn up to a show with a mobile phone, film the entire event and shove it up on YouTube for the world to see the same evening. This, in an age where management companies and record labels are trying to force professional concert photographers to sign ever more restrictive copyright-grabbing deals. (The infamous “three songs, no flash” clause is now almost mandatory for anyone wishing to officially take photos of a touring band.) Power to the people!

On the other hand, it’s bloody annoying.

Who are these retards who spoil the entire concert-going experience for everyone else: holding their mobile phones aloft in a present-day version of the old “lighter in the air” experience, oblivious to the glares of everyone around them? Why are they even there if all they’re doing is recording the event — in tiny surround, crap sound, shitty framing — for future viewing? Why not stay home and watch it on TV … or YouTube? AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OF THEM?

Don’t they understand even the basic rules of concert etiquette?

It used to be smokers holding their cigarettes in front of you so the smoke went directly up into your face: if not that, then drunks talking loudly the entire way through a particularly sensitive middle-eight;  the moshpit sprawling out of control into the non-dancing sections of the crowd, pumping macho muscle. Now it’s idiots with iPhones, making out-of-focus films.

But what can you do? It’s relatively easy to control the use of cameras: but — take everyone’s phone away? It’s unenforceable, against one of the basic human rights, surely? The right to be a twat and annoy the f-ck out of everyone around you.

Enter Apple.

Doubtless aware that their recent much-trumpeted (by Apple) iCloud streaming service has annoyed some of the big players within the music industry, they’ve come up with a piece of equipment to placate them. A device that’ll disable iPhones from recording live concerts, thus leaving the avenues of exploitation open for  those who think themselves most deserving — i.e. Apple themselves, and the record industry. Bugger the people! Home taping is killing music, etc etc etc.

The way it’s supposed to work is that when you hold up your iPhone to record the show, it would also capture a second image that “includes an infrared signal with encoded data” (according to Apple). If this encoded data contained a disable command it would — if required — send a signal back through the iPhone and disable your camera. Apparently.

Of course, you could argue that these tens of thousands of badly-recorded home movies up on YouTube for the world to see, a) provide untold dollars worth of free marketing for the acts in question, b) don’t stop any fan, casual or committed, from buying the official recordings — live or studio, c) are a harmless way of showing devotion to the music, and d) no one should be able to claim copyright on a performance that takes place in a public space … but no one will.

The corporations will be too busy rubbing their hands in anticipation of all the extra revenue (which actually won’t materialise, for the reasons explained above) … the idea being that folk who would have previously watched the live recording on YouTube would now have to pay for it via iTunes.

The common people will be too busy rubbing their hands at the prospect of finally being rid of those annoying twats with their annoying mobiles, ruining the live shows for everyone but themselves.

It’s a win-win situation.

It’s just a shame it’s going to take the increasingly Big Brother antics of Apple to make it happen.

15
  • 1
    DanD
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    It’ll be awesome until the Tunisan/Egyptian/Libyan/Syrian Government gets a whole bunch of them, or riot police at a g20/whatever protest carry one or many other cases where people in power don’t want a record of what they’re doing.

  • 2
    Anto
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    This article seems to assume that the only smartphone on the market is iPhone. Is Apple not aware that manufacturers of other smartphones are quickly gaining market share and are indeed setting benchmarks in functionality that left even Apple behind the 8-ball (wireless hotspotting and forward facing cameras, anyone?) Within a year or two all smartphones (yes, even iPhone) will be no more innovative or ‘must have’ than any other. Consumers will simply switch to devices that offer less restrictive and more flexible platforms.

  • 3
    Lindsay Rattray
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Dand.

    This is scary. One of the most important aspect of new technology that has contributed to the Arab Spring is the camera-in-every-phone. Twitter, facebook, and satellite news have all been important but have mostly received their share of coverage. But without the camera in the phone we’d know almost nothing about what’s actually happening in Syria (and considerably less about the other Arab countries’ uprisings). So the idea that there could be an infra-red command to disable recording worries me.

    (Though Anto is right, it’s unlikely to catch on to other platforms)

  • 4
    paddy
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    LOL What a hoot. Apple shoots itself in the foot. (or should that be in the camera)
    As @Anto says, the other manufacturers of smart phones will be rubbing their hands with glee.

  • 5
    Michael James
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    What about staff who use the camera function to record work-related matters within a venue?

    For example, many companies require their cleaners to record incidents that require them to spend additional time cleaning up messes.

  • 6
    loramarthalas
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh give me a break. That’s a patent application, not a plan for a product, an product announcement, or anything vaguely resembling an actual thing that Apple will implement.

    Why apply for a patent for a product they will never build? Licensing fees. Apple pays it engineers to dream up these products, and when they do they put that work into the bank by patenting it.

    This is not a product. It is money in the bank.

  • 7
    Suzanne
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I can’t see how they can do this technically

  • 8
    davirob
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    SUZANNE
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
    I can’t see how they can do this technically……………and then some.

  • 9
    davirob
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Early respondents should be glad they’re not fish.

  • 10
    Barry 09
    Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    $ome Geek will find a way around it and $ell it to iphone u$er$

  • 11
    Posted Saturday, 18 June 2011 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Surely within an hour of this “feature” being introduced, you’d be able to buy a cheap filter that passes visible light and blocks IR.

    And an hour after that, someone will have published plans for an Arduino + IR LED hack that automatically waterprints obscene pictures over every photo taken in the vicinity.

  • 12
    josh armistead
    Posted Sunday, 19 June 2011 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    loved your Nirvana book Everett.
    I must say i like the idea of these iPhone disabling infrared lasers. cant wait to get my hands on one! I wish i could disable the lower case “i” that seems to be appearing in front of old words. piss off i

  • 13
    Roberto Tedesco
    Posted Sunday, 19 June 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Retard”?

    You some kind of scriptwriter for “Angry Boys” or just lacking a few words in your vocabulary?

  • 14
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Is there an app to stop people annoyingly singing the words to every song, or to top drunks pissing on your leg, or one to spot where the tall people in the room are so you don’t get stuck behind them…

  • 15
    rachel612
    Posted Monday, 20 June 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Technically it’s quite simple - there are actually a variety of methods that could be used, only one of which is covered by this patent.

    However, as LORAMARTHALAS has indicated, this story is a complete beat up. They’ve filed a patent. They file thousands of patents a year. It would place Apple at a strategic disadvantage to be the only smartphone company doing this, and therefore, it’s unlikely they will actually do much with the patent.

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