Call for Google Glass ban in UK cinemas

Rory Cellan-Jones finds out if he is allowed in a cinema wearing Google Glass

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Google Glass should be banned in UK cinemas, the head of an influential trade body has urged.

Phil Clap, head of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA), said it wanted the smart glasses removed "whether the film is playing or not".

The CEA has no power to enforce a ban, but instead makes recommendations to most of the country's cinema industry.

Google suggested cinemas "simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts".

In a statement the company said Google Glass - the smart eyewear device that can record video - should be treated like any small gadget such as mobile phones.

"Broadly speaking, we also think it's best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it," the company said.

"The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it's activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly."

The CEA represents about 90% of the cinema industry in the UK, and also pushes the interests of groups such as the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).

The Independent quoted CEA chief executive Phil Clapp as saying: "Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums."

Knock-off DVDs

Cinema chains will still be free to make their own decisions on the hardware.

When asked by the BBC for its thoughts on Google Glass last week, Vue said it would ask people to remove the eyewear as "soon as the lights dim before a screening".

3D glass wearers in a cinema Other types of glasses are not a problem

While Google Glass is a very mobile piece of hardware, it is not particularly inconspicuous - and recording time can only last for a maximum of 45 minutes.

Anyone recording a film using the device would need to keep their head very still throughout.

However, Stuart Hall, a member of CEA based in London, said pirates would always use new ways to evade detection - and that bans should apply to "any kind of wearable technology".

He added that the likelihood of a Google Glass recording being poor quality would not deter pirates from selling knock-off DVDs.

"You don't know the quality is bad until you've bought it," he told the BBC.

Google Glass was launched in the UK last week, but with a price tag of £1000, it is not expected to become a mainstream product.

Despite this, Google has issued guidance on how people should use the device.

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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