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336 comments

Oh Really? (5, Insightful)

parasonic (699907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107099)

And once it's publicized, is it really all that hard to throw a couple of wireless microphones out there under others' seats to "mix things up?" It would work if no one knew about it, but once it's out...

Pretty much a moot idea.

Re:Oh Really? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107169)

And is the MPAA going to start requiring theaters to record exactly where each of its customers are sitting at each screening of every movie that might be pirated?

Useless Information (2, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107295)

Even if they did they so what? They will still not know in which cinema or exactly when the film was recorded. I fail to see how knowing where the pirate sat will help. In fact if they look at the distortion of the image they can presumably already figure out the angle.

Re:Useless Information (3, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107359)

They will still not know in which cinema or exactly when the film was recorded.

They will if the watermarking equipment creates a unique signature with each playback.

Re:Useless Information (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107419)

All the cameras and watermarks in the universe will not catch a man with a hidden videocamera paying cash to see movies at large theaters in large cities.

The whole "taping-in-the-theater" thing is sooooo 1999. Now we have good samaritans who are willing to leak the movie beforehand and save us the trouble of a trip!

Re:Oh Really? (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107469)

Yes, they might. A friend recently got caught by a red light camera. They're incredible -- they mail you a picture of the intersection with your car in it, a closeup of the car, and a closeup of the license plate with enough resolution to clearly read the tabs. It will cost a few hundred to a couple thousand bucks to install a camera above each screen. I'd bet that if the MPAA required theaters to install such a system or simply stop carrying all major hollywood films, the theaters would do it. Pretty soon, people will get used to a bright flash between the previews and the start of the film. Add to that an infrared video camera, and they can keep track of people changing seats during the movie.

Re:Oh Really? (3, Insightful)

MultiModeRb87 (804979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107627)

Pretty soon, people will get used to a bright flash between the previews and the start of the film. Add to that an infrared video camera, and they can keep track of people changing seats during the movie.

Of course, the natural response of the wittier bootleggers will be to wear a Guy Fawkes mask to the theater. :-)

Re:Oh Really? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107729)

And run a Chinese fire drill immediately after each flash...

And who cares, anyway? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107241)

What proportion of pirated movies are from in-theater cameras? I suspect it's minuscule, even if it seems to get a lot of attention. The video and audio quality must be way below DVDrip level, using any kind of equipment that can be "sneaked" into a theater.

Re:And who cares, anyway? (4, Informative)

maeka (518272) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107377)

What proportion of pirated movies are from in-theater cameras?

Well, outside of Oscar season the percentage of early-run pirated movies which are from in-theater cameras approaches 100%.
CAM shots (normally hand-held camera and the camera's microphone (which is what this procedure would target)) are often first, and I have seen plenty of bootleg DVDs which are this.
TeleSyncs often (but not always) come second. (Sometimes they hit the scene first.) They are normally tripod-mounted cameras and patch-in for the audio (hard of hearing feed, or direct feed if in the projection booth.) These would also qualify as in-theater cameras, though this technology presumably would not affect them, as the time-delay measurement-from-known-speaker-positions-technique would not apply.
Again, I have seen plenty of bootleg DVDs which are from this source.

It is true that DVD rips are the gold standard of "pirated" movies, but it is quite common for those to be the third or fourth release (after TeleCines or R5s or Screeners sometimes.)

I guess my point is that in-theater-camera releases may not be the most popular on bittorrent sites, but they are very prevalent, in my experience, on the streets of Pacific nations.

Re:And who cares, anyway? (0, Flamebait)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107743)

Well, outside of Oscar season the percentage of early-run pirated movies which are from in-theater cameras approaches 100%.

Citation please.

This smacks of someone just making up crap to support their viewpoint.

Re:And who cares, anyway? (4, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107403)

I have copies of Bolt and Quantum of Solace. Neither are out on DVD yet. Yes, I admit that they are pirated copies acquired through less than noble means. I had no intention of ever seeing either movie, and frankly, the rating on Bolt is a pretty big fuckup.

Neither are cam copies - they are rips of the copies sent by the studio to the Oscars for consideration. (QoS has the subtitle "For your consideration"; Bolt has "property of Disney - do not copy".)

I'm not sure why the studios are ripping their own movies and putting them in... places, but they sure aren't cam copies.

Re:And who cares, anyway? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107571)

Dude, those are leaked DVD screeners. It's pretty easy to get free movies if you're involved in the periphery of the industry. I have like 50 legitimate DVD screeners right next to me.

Re:Oh Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107331)

Well done, you just saved a LOT of theatres money.
This (their) idea is officially dead.

Next!

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107101)

eat my asshole you cocksucking fags.

Schuck it, Trebeck! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107159)

I beat you to FP. Now suck my dong. You LOSE. Good DAY, sir!
 
==YOUR MOM!==

Another reason not to go to the theatre (5, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107117)

For this to be useful, the theatre would have to identify who's in which seat, which means
a. showing ID when you buy tickets (and retaining the seating data for weeks or months)
b. assigned seating.

It's almost as if they don't want people to go to the movie theatre any more.

Re:Another reason not to go to the theatre (4, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107525)

I went to New Zealand last year and went to a movie in Christchurch. It was a pretty odd experience. It had assigned seating.

I ignored it since there were only like 4 other people in the theater but the seats were awesome. Think lazyboy. And the aisles were large enough for someone to walk past you with out moving, or them even needing to turn sideways. I would say there were less than 200 seats in the theater. And it was a medium sized theater. Oh yeah and the ticket price was ~$7 US and the food was normally priced.

I don't know if that's indicative of your average NZ theater, but it does live up to the "assigned seating" requirement.

Re:Another reason not to go to the theatre (2, Informative)

Slisochies (1183131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107679)

The assigned seats are generally only for when the theater is full, and you can make a claim for your assigned seats.

Otherwise nobody sticks to the plan.

Re:Another reason not to go to the theatre (2, Informative)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107821)

Most (but not all) cinemas here in the UK give you a seat number with your ticket. It's not enforced in any real sense, even when the theatre is packed people are cool about you taking "their" seat if you're just trying to sit closer to friends and they can still fit together with their crew.

Of course this idea is pointless because most people pay for the cinema in cash.

Re:Another reason not to go to the theatre (5, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107565)

The theaters aren't the ones pushing it, the studios are. Right now the theaters hand all their revenue from movie ticket sales to the studios. They scrape by on food and drink sales. Since the studios are getting all the ticket money without actually owning or running any of the theaters, it creates a situation which can come up with bizarre ideas like this which have no regard for the practicalities of actually running a theater.

Re:Another reason not to go to the theatre (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107731)

No, they would rather just get the federal government to tax us all and send the $ direct to the MPAA.

Then sue anyone that is dumb enough to go see a movie.

so what? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107121)

If you don't know who sat in which seat on what showing on what date, knowing which seat a video was shot from isn't going to help you.

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107251)

Usually you won't even have a list of names of everyone there (you're going to get ID for every ticket purchase now?). And is there any real chance that the accuracy is provably high enough for this to stand up in court?

The whole thing is silly and pointless.

Re:so what? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107443)

Agreed. Movie theatre tickets are not even assigned by seats like a sporting event. Theatre owners probably sell 80-90% of their tickets as cash transactions, no ID, no credit card. But even if you paid for seat with a credit card, in which case they would know who they sold they ticket to, the seats aren't assigned -- you could sit anywhere in the theatre so they can know where you sat, but not who sat there or even which movie theatre the movie was shot in.

And if they did start requiring IDs and assigning seats, well, let's just say movie theatres won't be getting my business anyway. I won't put up with that when I can purchase the movie and own my own copy for what it costs to go to movie theatre these days.

Besides, most pirated movies aren't shot with digicam these days, they're pirated from DVDs, BDs, etc.

Re:so what? (4, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107509)

I like US-style non-assigned seats. But I just took a trip to Israel, and the theater at which I saw Slumdog Millionaire (packed!) assigned seats, and it was actually good in one way -- the people you're squashing on the way to your seat have less growling resentment when they know you're trampling them only to get to the seat you've been assigned, rather than because you're an idiot ;)

timothy

Re:so what? (3, Insightful)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107303)

There's another variable as well.. what theater.. of which there is no standard design.

And even if they somehow manage to determine who was sitting in that seat, in that theater, at that time, on that date.. Id imagine any lawyer worth a damn would get someone off by forcing a plaintiff to prove things like that the projector was calibrated, and the method used for calibrating.

Re:so what? (4, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107713)

And some more variables:

Audio quality of the recording device (low, mono, parity, etc)
Audio alignment, what happens of you offset the audio track post-recording even by 20ms, that could be like 10 seats away, you'd have to haul in like a 10x10 grid of people, analyze all their potential "devices", try and get 100 warrants for something so trivial.

Seems like a more accurate way would be to implant an assortment of detectors in each seat, scouting for magnetic interference or something, and even that would cause havoc in accuracy and false positives.

To me this stinks of pointless scare tactics which will only thwart off idiots. Option B: strip search everyone who enters, only consequence: 95% of people stop seeing movies in theaters, and just wait for someone to rip the DVD.

Re:so what? (4, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107447)

If you don't know who sat in which seat on what showing on what date, knowing which seat a video was shot from isn't going to help you.

And you have just pointed out step 2 in their plan to ruin the movie theater experience, or stop piracy, whichever comes first.

Don't be shocked once metal detectors, checking in your cell phone at the lobby to get back after the movie, and numbered on ticket seating.

Of course, when nearly anyone wants to put up with that crap, the loss in sales to their annoying practices will be blamed on even more piracy.

Good riddance to them

Re:so what? (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107493)

Theater owners don't have any particular reason to care all that about piracy. They won't install metal detectors or ask you to check your phone.

Re:so what? (3, Insightful)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107641)

And you have just pointed out step 2 in their plan to ruin the movie theater experience, or stop piracy, whichever comes first.

Don't be shocked once metal detectors, checking in your cell phone at the lobby to get back after the movie, and numbered on ticket seating.

Of course, when nearly anyone wants to put up with that crap, the loss in sales to their annoying practices will be blamed on even more piracy.

Good riddance to them

Doing that sort of thing would just make people who don't ordinarily pirate movies anyway just stop coming to the theatre and start pirating just to avoid all that stuff.

Re:so what? (2, Interesting)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107849)

Seconded. I started downloading movies so I did not have to listen to Manny talk about why downloading movies is bad. Aside from that, I am not thrilled at all to pay $9.25 to watch 10 minutes of commercials.

why? (5, Insightful)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107131)

I've always wondered why the movie studios care about catching these people. These bootlegs are the worst quality you can find and anyone who would knowingly buy them would never be a customer anyway.

What good does this do? (0, Redundant)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107133)

If you know what seat they are in days after they filmed it and released it, what good does it really do you? Ive never seen a theater with assigned seating before.

Re:What good does this do? (4, Insightful)

1729 (581437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107209)

If you know what seat they are in days after they filmed it and released it, what good does it really do you? Ive never seen a theater with assigned seating before.

This might be useful for tracking down unauthorized recordings obtained during pre-release screenings.

Re:What good does this do? (0, Offtopic)

Moderatbastard (808662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107429)

I've been considering registering a 3 or 4 (or these days, 5) numeric digit username on the off chance that retarded shitcocks would mistake it for my sequential ID and totally modsuck my karmacock.

Given that those closest to mushrroms and plankton generally get modpoints, do you think I should do that?

Re:What good does this do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107685)

Karma, serius business.

Re:What good does this do? (4, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107459)

Prerelease screenings are complete clusterfucks. I've seen security people come up into the projection booth to make sure you're not telesyncing, and security people with hand held metal dectectors for video cameras, etc but there's absolutely no assigned seating, except maybe the first or second rows of the stadium seating (below that are the nosebleed floorseating) for the director and PR people. Most tickets are free and to top that off, most (modern) movie theaters don't even have seat numbers. Hell ask a theater employee and you're lucky if they can tell you within 100 seats how many people each theater seats.

Re:What good does this do? (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107487)

This might be useful for tracking down unauthorized recordings obtained during pre-release screenings.

Or it might be another scare tactic attempted by the MPAA to stop piracy of their movies--just like the stupid pat downs by goons in maroon jackets wielding hand-held metal detectors. Yeah, those are my keys and that's my mobile phone. No, I don't plan on recording the movie with Qik and no the offer of a free movie isn't worth you searching me more thoroughly off to the side. I'm just as happy to leave and not watch your shitty fucking movie ahead of time and instead wait for the free rental through Redbox and the associated websites which give me free rentals.

The movies used to be a place where I enjoyed relaxing for 2.5 hours. Between the high prices (even during matinees) and the gestapo bullshit at the prereleases, it's like going to the airport at Thanksgiving. While I don't bother to pirate movies anymore I might start to again just to piss the cocksuckers off.

Next step - CCTV (1)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107353)

Infrared photograph of everyone in the theatre. Mark my words, this is coming. For "security" reasons, to fight terrorism, etc.

Just like the outrageous crap in most EULAs, this will be posted somewhere on a wall, saying "by entering these premises, you are consenting to be photographed"

Even if that doesn't happen -- IMO, the amount of energy being poured into technology such as this seat tracking software would be better spent creating films worth watching. Between the smug know-it-all antics of the Hollywood crowd and the deep-as-a-puddle content of most dialog and storylines, there's just no compelling reason to attend.

LOTR was the most recent film I saw in a theatre. At the rate things are going, it may be the last film I see in any theatre.

Re:Next step - CCTV (2, Insightful)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107397)

Infrared photograph of everyone in the theatre. Mark my words, this is coming. For "security" reasons, to fight terrorism, etc

That would be counter-productive and would drive away customers from an already troubled industry.

Re:Next step - CCTV (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107543)

Too late. There was a mysterious box in the theater with a small red light on it that looked suspiciously like a CCD camera in it last time I saw a movie.

I don't know if there was a camera in it... but if it wasn't a ccd camera I don't know what it is.

Previous step - DRM (4, Insightful)

porneL (674499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107549)

That would be counter-productive and would drive away customers from an already troubled industry.

That argument never stopped RIAA and MPAA before.

Re:Next step - CCTV (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107835)

That's really going to fuck up the IR send/receive devices for the hard of hearing in every single theater in the US.

Re:What good does this do? (2, Informative)

zarkzervo (634677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107437)

I don't know about USA, but here in Norway, only the smallest cinemas don't have assigned seating. I really like this because you can buy tickets on the internet and pick them up 5 minutes before the start of a premiere and get the best seat in the cinema. If there is no good seats left, I'll wait until the day after.

Re:What good does this do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107559)

In general, except for releases that sell out theatres and special screenings, seat assignments are either not given or not even suggested to be enforced at US cinemas. Seats do generally have numbers and many theatres will print a seat number on a ticket, but they generally only enforce these for when they need to fill every seat.

so (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107135)

um...and they are going to use this info how exactly? Last time I checked I didn't have an assigned seat at the theater.

Re:so (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107355)

um...and they are going to use this info how exactly? Last time I checked I didn't have an assigned seat at the theater.

The submission regarding Carmike/Hollywood/etc. movie theaters rolling out pilot programs involving assigned seats hasn't been approved yet. Wait for it...wait for it.

This bodes well (4, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107139)

Am I going to get treated like I do by the airlines every time I want to watch a movie?

In order for this to track us at all, we'd need an ID to buy a ticket, need to show ID to get into the theater, have assigned seats, and they would have to change the audio slightly on every showing.

Maybe I'll just stay home and download them instead...

Re:This bodes well (4, Funny)

spud603 (832173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107191)

Maybe I'll just stay home and download them instead...

Aha! but you won't be able to download them because the scumbag who would have distributed it is locked up.
With movie pirating completely eliminated, you'll have to go see it in the theater even if they require finger prints and a urine test.

Re:This bodes well (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107337)

Or just wait for it to come out on DVD, and then get a DVDRIP...
In fact, depending where you live you might be able to download a foreign DVDRip long before it even comes on at the local cinema.

Re:This bodes well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107227)

In order for you to be able to download them at home, some other dude needs to go and be treated like in the airlines... :-)

Of course most movies you can download aren't pirated from the screen anyways (for the love of god, who'd want to watch that abysmal quality anyways), but rather from DVDs when those come out. By the point they do, movie producers already made the vast majority of their profits (ticket sales vastly outweigh DVD revenue), which makes the whole **AA point of online sharing totally destroying their business oh so deliciously ironic. About the only people who make use of screen captures are people who post short snippets to youtube and such, which (assuming the movie is good) should make people want to go see the full thing MORE and not less... Of course this doesn't compute in the heads of record execs.

Re:This bodes well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107301)

Not only that, but 44 centimeters covers at least 2 or 3 seats in all directions. That means even if they know who sat where, they're going to have to investigate everyone in the vicinity. That means if I happen to sit near a bootlegger I suddenly become a suspect.

Ugh, no thanks. I'll stay home and wait for the DVD.

Re:This bodes well (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107321)

You forgot the house cameras that will tape everyone and where they're sitting. There will also be infrared cameras to make sure no one moves and if they do, theater security will interrogate them.

After all, this is America: of the **AA, for the **AA, by the **AA ... or for the lobbyists for that matter.

I'm really getting cynical in my old age!

Re:This bodes well (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107527)

In order for this to track us at all, we'd need an ID to buy a ticket, need to show ID to get into the theater, have assigned seats, and they would have to change the audio slightly on every showing.

No, the theater industry will implant a life-long RFID tracking device in your neck, like in "Escape From New York." When you enter the theater, all your movements will be tracked, and you are ok.

However, if you do not renew the lease on the implant often enough, the device will explode, blowing your head off. Just like in "Escape From New York."

Please go out to the lobby, and buy some popcorn . . . and we mean that seriously. Thank you, enjoy the film.

Re:This bodes well (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107705)

You don't, by chance, work in software licensing [blogspot.com] , do you?

Re:This bodes well (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107829)

No, the theater industry will implant a life-long RFID tracking device in your neck, like in "Escape From New York." When you enter the theater, all your movements will be tracked, and you are ok.

This literally sent a shiver down my spine, because at this point I don't see any limits on our surveillance society, and this seems all-too-likely to be real some day. (Minus, perhaps, the "kill switch" for people's heads. Car analogy works differently here, though.)

Just wondering. (1)

liquidMONKEY (749280) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107145)

Why not just link the original post from TorrentFreak? "Brief mention on Google News of a story covered by PC Authority of a post at TorrentFreak, that killed the rat, that ate the malt, that lay in the house that Jack built."

Sign EULA before buying ticket? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107147)

I thought they wanted more people to watch movies, not scare them away by requiring people to sign an EULA when they buy tickets.
How else would this invention be useful if they didn't know the exact person which was seated in that particular seat?

And the point is ? (1)

Going_Digital (1485615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107149)

What exactly will that achieve ? Since when did you need to give proof of identity to get in, oh wait that will be the next thing that MPAA lobbies for. Movie Identity cards, we welcome our new entertainment overlords.

Re:And the point is ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107193)

What exactly will that achieve ? Since when did you need to give proof of identity to get in, oh wait that will be the next thing that MPAA lobbies for. Movie Identity cards, we welcome our new entertainment overlords.

This is already in place in Sweden, except they call it "cinema club" cards or whatever. A small discount to movies, in exchange for assigned seating and a known identity.

I have never understood why they want to treat a paying customer as a potential criminal. If I wanted to download, I would not be paying for the movie. Treat me like a queen when I pay and I am more likely to pay again.

And what's to stop pirates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107151)

From recording audio and video in separate and then joining them together?

Recording video is the hard part, since you have to position the camera to stare at the screen continuously, and exposed to being noticed; the only way you can do that (unless you have inside connections) is from the movie seat for which you bought the ticket. An audio bug, however, can be planted virtually anywhere in the room, does not have to stare the screen, does not have to be exposed to sight, and can be small enough to literaly be stuck on top of a pin which you stick somewhere unconspicuous. So while audio signals may help you to figure where the signal originated from, its offset by being much harder to tie that signal to any particular person.

Re:And what's to stop pirates... (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107247)

They already do that. It's called a TeleSync release.

Assigned Seats (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107153)

So, they will be assigning seats in the theater? Or are they just planning on using 'Wanted Posters' for these lawbreakers?

Profiling (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107697)

Start with the premise that guys who do this do it a lot, they are serialists. Say they start collecting this evidence and looking at pirated releases. They now go and look at the few seats at each instance of the pirated movie capture thing being triggered, and look for any human face matches. Once they have the same guy in more than one instance, they got a pretty good idea it really *is* him and not the people sitting next to him, the odds of him having the same random neighbors next to him in the seats are pretty far off-and if it is the same few people, then it is a crew effort, bigger fish for the companies to nail. Either way, they work on matches, not a single instance. It's a start on IDing the guy or guys then. The fuzz have most everyone's face in their data banks now with driver's licenses, and they take it from there. Allegedly, this facial recognition tech out there now is good enough for vegas to catch counters already, so if the casinos have that tech and ability to analyze and ID faces, the big studios do too, if they wanted to.

They could also use this if they actually caught (or suspected) the guy from some other slip up, and then went back and looked at their recordings of the identified area in the theater to see if they could find him inside the zero in range they recorded. If they did, it would would then be just some more evidence to throw at him in court.

If course the basic idea from the studio's POV is to get knowledge of this anti piracy tech out in the wild, just to discourage all but the most desperate or most retarded to even try it, knowing they will be the "star" on the in theater candid camera. Mostly, it is just a deterrent, especially if they perfect it and get a few convictions using the tech. The word will get out, that it is just not worth it.

Can this really work? (1)

Banzai042 (948220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107163)

I'm somewhat skeptical that this could even work for a few reasons:
1) How can they alter the sound so that a camera with a cheap mic can pick up the sound accurately enough for this to work without making it sound worse for the audience?

2) Even if they do somehow make the seat location ID work how will they know who sat there? Unless they assign seats and get the name of each person in the theater this is pretty useless

3) How will they know which theater the movie was filmed at, or which screen in the theater, or which time on that screen? Will every single individual screening have a different audio watermark?

Re:Can this really work? (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107279)

1) They care about the audience?

2)Finally a new use for fake IDs for people over 21 years old.

3)Every theater probably will get its own watermark, digital projectors could probably add a new one with each showing.

Re:Can this really work? (1)

bami (1376931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107315)

To comment on 2):
Finally a use for my fake ID that says "Dan Glickman".

Re:Can this really work? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107363)

I'm somewhat skeptical that this could even work for a few reasons

Notice that both the original linked article and the TorrentFreak original were very light on detail as to how this actually works and how effective it is in practice?

They could be playing up the effectiveness of a technology that's actually not that great in practice or- at worst- is totally made up, but a good way to scare people off.

Re:Can this really work? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107411)

Yeah, they forgot the one damn thing about watermarking: either the signal can't be watermarked without audible artifacts, or else the wartermark can be removed without any.

There's no middle ground. They might as well declare war on the Nyquist-Shannon theorem.

Re:Can this really work? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107451)

They might as well declare war on the Nyquist-Shannon theorem.

Is it a weapon of mass reproduction?

Re:Can this really work? (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107535)

1) The better quality the recording, the more they care. Also, even crappy microphones pick up noises whose frequency and duration are out of human hearing range.

2) Easy. Mandatory RFID in every state-issued ID card + RFID reader in every seat.

3) You answered it yourself. You can fit a helluva lot of data into a watermark over the course of a 90-minute movie.

Remote microphones (4, Informative)

1729 (581437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107165)

While this sounds cool from a technical perspective, it would be easy to circumvent by plugging a remote microphone into the camera.

Also, wouldn't the accuracy of this depend on the theater's dimensions and acoustics as well as the layout/calibration of the speaker system?

Re:Remote microphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107427)

wouldn't the accuracy of this depend on the theater's dimensions and acoustics as well as the layout/calibration of the speaker system?

Not to mention the off-axis response of the microphone, the number of people in the auditorium and effects of lossy audio compression. I guess you could vary the offset on each channel of audio on the timeline to further screw with whatever analytics they're doing, from what I've seen (and heard) most encoders do this automatically anyway :-/

Re:Remote microphones (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107519)

Don't even need a remote mic, just sit in the handicapped enabled seat that has a mic jack for headphones. as an added bonus your .CAM just became a .TELESYNC

Accuracy (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107657)

Setting that up across the nation and keeping it maintained would be a nightmare.

So many differences across the theaters, even identical ones would have to be calibrated at least every show, if not continuously during the show.

Point? (0, Redundant)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107171)

What's the point to this? Unless I'm mistaken (and I did RTFA), they will only be able to work out where the person sat if they listen to the recording. That means either a) they've already caught them, or b) they've managed to leave the cinema, go home, compress and upload the film. Do cinemas in the US record full ID of every person attending, including what seat they sat at?

Night vision snaps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107181)

It's only a matter of time before cinema owners are forced by the big studios to start taking night vision snaps of movie-going audiences before every screening.

We dread to think what else they might catch going on in the dark.

Assuming I have drunk enough beer by the time we hit the cinema they'll catch a fine snap of my naked buttocks and those of half a dozen of my friends pointed in the direction of their camera.

Just change seats (1)

Nutsquasher (543657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107189)

Hack this by changing seats a few times during the movie. Or, slip someone in the movie theater $100 so you can go up into the projector room and film it there... "Our watermarking technology has determined that the movie pirate is... the projector!"

Re:Just change seats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107243)

multiple wireless mics on confederates switched at random, none of which are where the camcorder is. You could even employ some clever audio processing to create a virtual microphone at where the RIAA guy sits . . . .

Re:Just change seats (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107453)

"Our watermarking technology has determined that the movie pirate is... the projector!"

Correct me if I`m wrong, but in that scenario the projectionist gets fired for piracy and/or accepting bribes, and that`s exactly what`s supposed to have happened...

Seems a little silly to me (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107211)

The real question is why? It's not going to help.

I would think having a nice big Infra-red spotlight above the screen pointed at the audience would be a better deterrent. Of course this may put crazy people like this [light4beauty.com] out of business. It's just a risk we'll have to take.

That will not work. Pirates will use FM feed. (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107255)

Most cinemas that I've been to lately have micro-power FM transmitters that broadcast the audio in each screening room, for the benefit of people with hearing impairment who bring their own radios and listen on headphones. If the pirates were to use audio from this FM feed, the camera could be anywhere in the room and nobody would know.

Re:That will not work. Pirates will use FM feed. (5, Funny)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107375)

Those with poor hearing must be pirates, better stop broadcasting like that in the name of piracy prevention.

This will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107257)

It cannot work. Most of the time they will never know which cinema it was bootlegged from. So.... GG

This might work (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107293)

If Hollywood made movies that were worth stealing, more people would be 'video-ing' movies. Most -if not all- of this stupidity takes place in markets where the videos are turned into cheap, flea-market quality, DVDs that are sold in locales where copyright means that it's alright to copy someone's work. Very few of the massive, high-budget, POSes that are being churned out by Hollywood these days are 'must sees' -let alone 'must buys' or 'must torrent'.

Seems pointless.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107323)

Ok so they track down the seat. Now they have the buttprint of some anonymous person who obviously paid for his seat with cash and the movie theater didn't assign a seating chart. Anyone else seeing that this is probably a multimillion dollar industry to do jack crap?

Seems kidna pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107367)

I've been going to movies my whole life, not one of them has assigned seats. Even if they did, as long as most people pay for tickets with cash, there's nothing linking the ticket back to whoever used it.

No need to assign seats. (1)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107389)

They will just photograph the audience (in infrared, so that no one notices). Then they'll use face recognition to identify you when you come to buy your next ticket, and trace you down by the CC number.

Re:No need to assign seats. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107433)

If you're going to spy on movie-goers with a camera good enough to pick out facial features, why wouldn't you just use the camera to look for someone with a video camera?

Useful? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107463)

1. So do they check your ID when you buy a ticket (and don't look too young) or enter the cinema?
2. Don't you have more than one movie theater in the US?
3. Doesn't a movie get shown several times at each of these theaters?

Any single one of these would completely invalidate the data. By the time the bootleg is distributed, knowing which seat the thing is filmed from doesn't sound very useful.

Re:Useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107531)

1. So do they check your ID when you buy a ticket (and don't look too young) or enter the cinema?
2. Don't you have more than one movie theater in the US?
3. Doesn't a movie get shown several times at each of these theaters?

Any single one of these would completely invalidate the data. By the time the bootleg is distributed, knowing which seat the thing is filmed from doesn't sound very useful.

Hi! My name's Spider!

What this "news" story means? (2, Insightful)

rusl (1255318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107515)

A lot of people are pointing out some of the obvious technical flaws here: microphone placement, ID/seat assignments, poor quality CAMs suck, etc. etc.

The even more significant issue would be that such a scheme would have serious widespread implementation to be relevant. Which is never, ever going to happen. Cinema's are franchises, it's not like a software update that can be installed everywhere "instantly" fast (within a week for frequently updated systems, years for others...). This system would be difficult to set up effectively in one cinema, let alone a chain of them, let alone an entire city with competing networks, let alone many cities, let alone a whole nation, let alone bigger than that...etc.

This is like the "news" about video watermarks supposedly to be embedded in the films so that the specific theatre/time could be traced. This is like the IR projected from the screen that will make your camera unable to record properly.

None of this could conceivably ever, ever make it past a few experimental test runs in a few random places.

So why is this news? More WAR-ON-DRUGS style propaganda. That is to say disinformation... or more accurately: Utter B.S. that relies entirely on widespread ignorance and a subservient media to not be laughed out of the room. This is like the stories about people injecting Opium (sounds almost plausible except that Opium is a solid) and LSD making people think they can fly off buildings, Reefer Madness etc.

As much as I enjoy wild nerdy speculation about wireless microphones and other espionage imaginings (for financially irrelevant CAMs no less) we should call it what it is: sheer nonsense.

My next question is this: I assume that this is a real company making this "technology" that is important only for its semi-believable bluster. So how do we get in on such a gravy train? I want to write Science Fiction propaganda news articles too!

The real issue (2, Insightful)

arikol (728226) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107553)

The real issue (apart from the problems in actually tracking all users and treating them like criminals) is whether there might not be more constructive ways for the movie industry to spend their money?

One brilliant idea might be to give scriptwriters the money to write better scripts that are actually worth the cost of the ticket.

Or maybe theater owners try to IMPROVE the theater going experience. There are many things to complain about in a regular trip to the movies. Most are age old complaints like inconsiderate fellow moviegoers that like chatting. Others are newer like getting frisked when going to an early screening of a movie.
Treat customers like criminals and they will behave that way.

Make going to a movie theater worth the price of admission. Make it as easy as possible to go and as cheap as possible while keeping the quality of the experience as high as possible.
There will be some trade-offs, but such is life.
Just don't model the experience on the airlines models. Remember that people are almost at a point where they would rather swim across the Atlantic than use the bloody airlines.

Pinpoint a pirate? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107593)

Or just where the microphone was....

LOLZ (1)

gearloos (816828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107605)

This is great. I love any news from anything to do with the entertainment industry or DMCA etc... I have this mental picture : RIAA and their pocket officials: Calling all cars! Calling all cars! All units be on the lookout for movie patron sitting in row 23, seat 4B at Cinimax on main street. Subject was last known to have watched Star Wars 7 months ago. Description? Well, just go to the theater and arrest everyone. Someone is bound to confess to something!

not worth the hassle (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107673)

I'm starting to think that the movie industry is actively trying to destroy the theater experience. Trailers are now around 25 minutes. Before the trailers start, there's more commercials. Ticket prices have gone up. They keep playing those stupid anti-piracy ads in the theater for a movie YOU'VE PAID TO SEE. On top of that, movies come out to DVD or Blu-Ray after 2 months of leaving the theater. With all of this going on, they then blame piracy for loss of sales and put in millions on more ads and in this case more technology to stop piracy. It will never work. The bootleg copy taken by a guy with a video camera in the theater is practically gone. There are same day releases of movies that are taken from DVD pre-releases that were leaked in-house. If they can't even stop people within their industry to pirate the stuff, how can they stop anybody else? There will always be a 2 dollar theater with no security and no hi-tech gadgetry to stop the filming. If all else fails, this will continue to be the source. Just move on. Of course, they never will, but it's just silly to see this battle continue on indefinitely because the movie industry seems so clueless to stop it.

What's stupid... (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107723)

Well... one thing that's stupid.... is that this product focused on the sound and I'd bet you could get way more accuracy from building the technology around, well, the movie itself.

Why do you have to go to all the trouble of a watermarked sound track when you should have the position of the seat very simply by the angle of the screen on the wall in relation to what's on the camera?

In -fact-, you could make it really simple. Assume that your movie won't show in more than 16,000 theaters, that's what, 14 bits? So you have 14 things in the movie, in 14 scenes, that the director uses, say, pepsi as a prop rather than coke. In post production, assuming that all of these clips are in the computer, you could, for each film print, select the various combinations of each of the scenes such that each film is unique.

Send out each film to each theater, and then bam, when it shows up in some street, you know where it came from. Then you can send out the goons, shoot the movie theater owner, hang up all the patrons in cages with vultures pecking on their organs, and then, uh, nobody would go to that movie theater again.

Oh wait... what's REALLY stupid is that, no matter how much the movie companies can trace leaks back to a theater, there's not a damn thing they can do to that theater, lest they lose business. If you are a movie theater owner, why not let everyone bring in a camcorder... at least they all buy tickets!

This is GREAT! (1)

wirm (190901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27107779)

If you think about it, this is one of the best technologies to come along in years. This will now entice the mpaa to start investing heavily in time machines to go back and capture these people. With all the money they will invest time machines should be popping up any year now! (stay away from the dynex brand timemachine its known to have a few bugs)

Thats all good but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27107785)

how could they identify which theater the bootleg was filmed in?

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