New Apple technology could prevent iPhones from filming concerts, live sporting events

NewsCore reports, “Fans at concerts and sports games may soon be stopped from using their iPhones to film the action — as a result of new technology being considered by Apple, The Times of London reported Thursday.”

“A patent application filed by Apple, and obtained by the Times, reveals how the software would work,” NewsCore reports. “If a person were to hold up their iPhone, the device would trigger the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue. These sensors would then instruct the iPhone to disable its camera.”

“The software is seen as an attempt to protect the interests of event organizers and television broadcasters who have exclusive rights to film an event,” NewsCore reports. “These companies often sell their own recordings but are frustrated when cell phone videos appear online via websites such as YouTube, allowing people to watch the concert free.”

Full article here.

79 Comments

      1. They already have technology that can scan license plates as patrol cars drive down streets/highways to pick out people with outstanding tickets/warrants.

        The mere fact that no one has gotten bent out of shape over that, and yet here are people ranting about this patent that hasn’t even been implemented shows how far out of whack people’s priorities are.

        1. Maybe it’s not about people’s priorities at all. Maybe it’s about the fact that most people don’t even know that this is happening. Everyone must deal with such a flood of information and misinformation each and every day that many important facts never register on most people’s radar. It’s definitely not alright with me for the police to scan my license plate as I’ve driving down the street minding my own business, but I’ve never heard of this before and I doubt that I’m the only one.

        2. I dont see what the problem is with scanning license plates? You have a problem with the police catching people who are wanted or have failed to pay fines? You have a problem because that is you?

    1. It looks like yet another journalist has told half a story and embroidered the rest so that everybody is getting agitated about it.

      I reckon that this is the patent that’s being talked about http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/06/apple-working-on-a-sophisticated-infrared-system-for-ios-cameras.html

      The patent refers to making use of the fact that the the camera sensor is responsive to infra-red and for the iPhone to electronically filter out that infra-red signal and use it as a form of low-bandwidth data.

      One practical application mentioned is the ability to block recordings of events where recordings are not allowed. Contrary to what is mentioned in the article, the venue does not use sensors to detect the iPhone, instead the venue continually transmits a specially modulated IR signal which when detected by the iPhone will inhibit recording.

      There certainly is potential with regard to making jamming devices for police at demonstrations, or for celebrities to deploy against paparazzi and it’s something that needs to dealt with sensibly.

      However, there are other uses mentioned that are not contraversial. If you think of the IR signal as an invisible low-bandwith data stream that is picked up when the camera looks in a particular direction, then it offers a much easier alternative to radio for communicating with an iPhone in public areas. One such proposal is that the iPhone could operate as a smart tour guide at attractions and museums. When you point your phone at an exhibit, the screen will show you appropriate information. This could be in the language of your choice and could offer varying intellectual levels, from casual layman to specialist expert.

      While I have reservations about some possible ways of using that technology, the basis premise is that it’s a simple software technique to gain additional functionality from the camera that is already there ( as video cameras do respond to IR light and it usually has to be filtered out with an optical filter ).

      The bottom line is that it’s only a patent application. It could happen that governments will be lobbied ( bribed ) by content owners to mandate that all smart phones must employ this type of technology. In that case it would be a useful thing to own the patent.

  1. Are they crazy? Just another reason to go to Android. The online videos that are posted are really just free advertising for the bands. They’re also never of good quality.

    1. This really hurts the bands that suck live. I scout my favorite bands playing live. I have to admit I’ve discovered several bands a like are not very good live.

      Otherwise, I would like/could use the free publicity to generate interest.

      If they want to monetize concerts, why don’t they do HQ recordings of them and sell them . . . more often?

      1. This wouldn’t be just any concert. It be the big ones, or the big events with broadcast rights. Going to a local venue and scouting/recording smaller bands would not be blocked.

    2. Companies file countless patent applications on crazy amount of subjects — including these which will be never implemented.

      In fact, Apple will have the power to stop anyone else who will try this, since the patent belongs to them.

  2. There is no reason tong to android. Malware apps. Google remote removing apps from your phone. Selling your info to advertisers. Shotty phones they’re giving away to increase market share. No 2 phones running the same OS. Please.

    1. A real mean spirited, penny grubbing, killjoy of an idea, but if this app goes on the iPhone, event managers will easily find a way to impose the same technology on Android.

        1. You probably wouldn’t even need to jailbreak. If it’s the camera sensing an infra-red signal, then a simple filter placed over the camera lens could block the infra-red signal and defeat the tech.

          Or just bring a decent videocamera to the event (yes, you’d have to smuggle it in, but those cameras are pretty small these days).

    1. I find the prospect of having the camera disabled extremely alarming and an infringement on personal freedom. Restricting the use of the camera needs to follow from your own ethics. It is a skill that people might need to learn, just like we don’t send e-mails indiscriminantly now, and, decades ago, learned to not send letters indiscriminantly.

      Further, restrictiing the use of the camera could be applied by governments to prevent protesters to send accounts of police brutality to the outside. Where should we draw the line? Civil liberties supersede the “danger” that lies in people avoiding to pay royalties for the filming of events. No need to preemptively limit civil liberties, just in case the new technology could be misused. No need to forbid the use of cars because that may pose some dangers.

    1. if their professional video can be “replicated” by a single hand-held camera phone by a fan sitting or standing in one spot, they deserve to lose the sale.

      Image quality is only one small aspect of a professional, live multi-camera production.

      The industry should be way more worried about perfect rips of their own DVDs, with fantastic audio and multiple-camera coverage showing up online.

      I think Apple’s just patenting it because they figured it out first. They’ll sit on this,because it would absolutely infuriate their customers — and give Apple nothing for the trouble.

  3. Clearly important because the quality of the recordings is so good it hampers the professionally produced products. Swing that hammer toward Cupertino.

  4. “View a crappy filmed concert for free”. Let’s get it right. Have you seen some of those concert clips on YouTube and elsewhere? Not every one, but fuzzy images, poor audio and rapid camera movement that would require one to take Dramamine. To view something with those quirks I’d expect to be free, but also maybe tp pique my interest into purchasing a professionally filmed version of it!

    Agreed, ‘1984’ is alive and well. George Orwell would be pleased.

    Man has Steve come a long way from his “think Different” and ‘Blue Box’ days!

    1. The last thing I want to do is spend all that money for a big-name band concert ticket and then stand all night with my iPhone held above my head to hopefully record something I could post on YouTube. If I’m going to a concert, I want to enjoy it.

  5. Yeah, I think this may be a little over the top. Whenever I’ve used my iPhone at concerts, it’s simply so I can go back and re-live a little something that I enjoyed. It would never stop me from buying the official DVD/Blu Ray release if there is one. Also, on the shows I’ve used my iPhone on, you can barely stand to listen to the audio because it’s so distorted. I realize that may not be as much of an issue in the future, but still…

  6. Videocameras are a proven threat to gate receipts. Because we all know people won’t pay to attend a live event when they can just watch some shitty, jerky, screechy 5 minute vid the next day on YouTube .

  7. What happened to the Steve Jobs who once flew the pirate flag at corporate headquarters? Now he acts like a typical tight ass micro manage control everything conservative. It’s no wonder Android is taking the market away from iPhone.

  8. This will never happen. If people think Apple is going to actually implement this tech they are nuts. This goes way beyond any control issues Apple has. All this does is create a reason for people to ditch their iPhones when their contract expires.

    If there’s one thing people will not give up it’s the “look how cool I am” factor of photographing every event their friends are not at so they can brag.

    1. The camera undoubtedly detects infrared. But that’s nothing that a snap on IR filter can’t solve.

      This is a solution seeking a real problem. There are so many ways to film live performances. You could build a really nice set of video glasses, for instance, with a wireless pocket remote to adjust settings.

      Remember your roots, Apple. SJ says focus on a few great things and say “no” to all of the good ideas that might distract you from the great ones. Once you get the great things squared away, you can go back and take a look at the best of the rest.

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