News of Apple’s latest technological plan, which would give them the power to completely disable your phone’s camera capabilities at concerts, has spread like wildfire. This patent, as explained in a previous Buzz Insider article, would allow Apple to integrate a sophisticated infrared system on all iOS cameras, giving them the power of disabling camera functions at specific locations such as concert venues, movie theaters or other camera-prohibited areas.
Apple has also suggested in its patent that this technology they’re developing is multifunctional and could be used as a personal museum tour guide, personal shopping assistant or to place watermarks on any photo or video with its easy point-and-shoot system.
It appears that Apple plans on selling this system as something that will help and even benefit iOS users. That is completely false. While this technology does have some interesting concepts like the personal shopping assistant and tour guide features that users could certainly take advantage of, the main bulk of it, which is to disable the camera function, is only meant to benefit the industry NOT the user.
While this editorial board recognizes that incorporating a system such as this to help stop pirating is a great idea, unless this system is able to affect all electronics, pirates will just switch devices and continue to record illegally. This system would also take away users rights of ownership in terms of their photos and videos.
While the instant watermark of your location could be a useful tool to use for photos and videos taken on trips or events, unless it can be disabled, this feature would not only ruin precious personal photos by stamping a business logo on them, it would also make it more difficult for freelancers, budding photographers and filmmakers to be able to use their devices for a project. Adding a watermark that isn’t YOUR personal watermark makes the footage or photo the property of the business; you technically won’t have permission to use it.
Why would Apple go through all this trouble to make a system that would make it harder for users to utilize their devices?
It’s because the industry, particularly the music industry, is pushing for it.
As technology improves so do the cameras on our phones and tablets. The better the camera, the better the footage. You no longer need an expensive professional camera to get a good photo. If you have a phone or tablet with a good enough resolution you can snap a sell-worthy photo. For the industry, this is a problem. It’s competition. A paper can purchase a photo with more or less the same quality for a far cheaper price from a hobbyist photographer than from an expensive professional.
Musicians are complaining that the amount of people recording and taking photos at their concerts is ruining the experience for others. While people putting their phones up in the air is a bit disruptive, it doesn’t ruin the show. Unless the show venue specifically states that no photography or recording is allowed, then the person has a right to take as many photos and videos as they want, after all, they did pay for their ticket.
This is why Apple’s system is so problematic: not only is it making it more difficult to take photos, it’s also ruining your chance of recording a good memory. The industry isn’t thinking of how they can make the concert experience better for you, they’re thinking of how they can get more money. If people can’t record or take photos, then publications or other fans will have to go to the musicians directly and that’ll be pricier.
This is why Youtube created Youtube Red and why Apple has stopped making iTunes Radio free. Regular everyday people are able to create, share and access good quality stuff for free and the industry can’t stand all the bucks they’re losing. Customers should continue to inquire about this patent to make sure that once Apple develops it, it will truly benefit the users and not just the industry’s pocket.
Image retrieved from Flickr.