According to the Times of London (article behind paywall), Apple has filed a patent for new software that would sense when a person is attempting to film a concert or sporting event with their iPhone, then automatically disable its camera. The technology would involve placing infrared sensors at venues, which would be activated by organizers who want to maintain exclusive video rights over events. Once the camera hits those sensors, it shuts down (though the phone’s other functions obviously won’t be affected), thereby preventing users from capturing footage to later upload to YouTube and such. And yes, while it definitely would be nice to watch a show without having to peer through a thousand upraised cell phones for once, on the flipside, imagine all the lost viral videos of Lady Gaga falling down on stage that you will then only get to read about.
Although the patent was filed 18 months ago, the details were only recently made available. And of course, it’s worth noting that Apple files patents for lots of things that never make it past the proposal stage—and it’s possible that they’re just doing this one in anticipation of some future expansion of copyright legislation that officially bans unauthorized filming at live events, one that will then force their hand to implement it. Still, some speculate the technology could be part of helping Apple in their negotiations with record labels when moving copyrighted material to iTunes. And of course, the idea of your iPhone doing spooky autonomous things according to its own internal directives probably won’t help Apple’s “Big Brother” image any. Apple has declined to comment. [via Fox News]
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