Apple wins patent on technology to stop fans filming gigs

Using iphone to record at a concert

The spread of smartphones has created a divide among party-goers. There are those who like to hold their phone up for large chunks of the show, to capture footage of the band. And there are those who like to stand and watch the group and listen to the music, without any screens in their way.

Now, it seems, the latter group could be on their way to victory in the eternal struggle between the filmers and the watchers. Pitchfork reports that Apple has won approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that could be used to prevent fans filming or taking photos of gigs on their iPhones.

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The patent, headed “Systems and methods for receiving infrared data with a camera designed to detect images based on visible light”, outlines how infrared light could be used to prevent filming: “For example, an infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device’s recording function based on the command.”

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What makes this relevant to music is that one of Apple’s “perspective view[s] of an illustrative system for communicating infrared data in accordance with one embodiment of the invention” depicts a band on a stage, and an iPhone screen with the words “recording disabled”, suggesting that this – along with preventing filming in cinemas – is one of Apple’s suggested usages for the technology.

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