Apple Patent Could Put Major Cramp in Concert Experiences As We Know It



Imagine going to a great concert and coming out of it with not even a single photo or video captured. In the digital age that we now live in, that just sounds darn right crazy, doesn’t it?

Well, this could become a reality if Apple moves ahead with a patent it was granted earlier this week.

The patent would allow a form of technology to disable the photography and video recording capabilities on any iPhone at venues holding live events.

There are so many things wrong with this scenario if it were to become a reality.

While I can appreciate the growing problem of the filming and illegal sharing of video content online, a widespread ban on the ability to record video or take photos at an event is a direct infringement on our personal property.

This comes after years of artists’ voicing their disdain over people filming their live shows. Russell Peters is one and more recently Alicia Keys and Adele. Their stance: you’ve paid to see us in concert so don’t do it through a screen.

I get it. Aside from the threat of copyright infringement (especially with video quality on smart phones steadily improving), excessive cellphone use can be distracting to the performer.

But it’s not always about the performer, either.

The fans are largely responsible for the success of these live shows in the first place, so is it really fair to almost punish them for paying money (at times a lot of it) for an experience they can only keep in their head?

I don’t advocate having a phone in the air for the entire show. I personally like going through some of the sets and just taking it in the experience for my self, but if a favourite song or particularly good sequence comes up, you better believe I’m going to want to capture the moment. It’s practically a reflex and only adds to the excitement of being there live. Stripping the ability to do that would be a major detriment to the overall experience.

Before I continue, there are exceptions where it makes sense for all phones to be off limits – like in the case of an intimate show (especially for stand-up comedy), where audience engagement and participation is key.

Also, not everyone that records their experience at live shows does it for  the purposes of uploading it to social media.I personally do it for my own pleasure, to be able to look back on some of my favourite moments and to show (not necessarily share) the clips with a few friends. No one has ever changed their mind about seeing a live show based on content I shared from an event I attended. They were entertained for the few minutes the clip lasted and then it was just as quickly forgotten about.

Plus, if you’re a loyal fan, it won’t matter how many clips are floating around on the web. You will likely make a point not to watch anything in advance of a show to avoid ruining it for yourself.

It is virtually impossible to ban mobile devices altogether from concert-goers so I’m sure this new technology is also coming on the heels of that reality, but invading our personal property to the point of basically dictating to us how we should enjoy ourselves at an event is just going a notch too far.

Apple applied for the patent five years ago and was just awarded it now. They may do nothing with it, but that seems unlikely considering in the five years, they never pulled out.

As a loyal Apple customer, I really hope they don’t pursue this idea or at least try to find some middle ground to keep the performers and the fans happy.

You can read about this story in more detail here.

What are your thoughts on this patent? Share your comments below.

2 thoughts on “Apple Patent Could Put Major Cramp in Concert Experiences As We Know It

  1. You make a lot of great points.
    I agree with it being an infringement on my personal property. I should have some rights as the owner of the device. I certainly don’t want anyone to deny me access to something that belongs to me. Taking it too extremes, would I want someone denying me access to my refrigerator?
    On the other hand, I do wonder why so many people are filming concerts? Don’t they want to enjoy the experience? I guess I find all of the texting and social media updates that people do rather annoying, so that could account for my disdain of all of this.
    As for filming a stand-up comedian….it would pretty much ruin their act. Once it gets out, it is pretty hard to watch it again….or is it? I have watched some clips on YouTube multiple times without feeling bored….hmmmmm? I will have to think on that one.

    1. Thank you very much for your feedback! Yes, there are a lot of grey areas here and a lot that is left to an individual’s own perception. But yes, the biggest issue with this is invasion of privacy (so to speak) by injecting control on your personal device. And let’s not forget, what if something were to happen at a show that is completely unrelated? You wouldn’t be able to capture it on tape – and if it was criminal – that could hamper an investigation. On the other hand, people that act like hooligans at concerts would get away with their behaviour not being recorded and posted on YouTube. lol so many angles to consider. The article from Washington Post does state that they might consider watermarking video in those venues instead of disabling the device altogether – they might be a happy medium. I guess we’ll see. 🙂

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