Ever since there was a portable way to record, fans and opportunists have been recording concerts.
The practice of recording live shows has long been a point of contention throughout the music industry, some acts have been steadfast in their refusal to let audiences record their shows, while others, most notably, The Grateful Dead, have been more open to the idea and in fact, encouraged it.
Now with the abundance of smartphones, an artist wanting to prevent the recording of live performances has become almost impossible to do. Let’s face it; anyone with a smartphone can record parts of—or even all of—a show.
In a story from Variety, computer giant Apple may have created the technology to provide live venues with a device to shut down the ability of Apple devices to record the performance.
So, what is it? The device would emit an infrared beam that disables the device’s camera. Great for artists not wanting their performances recorded, but think about the fact that Apple has the ability to block the use of an important part of a device. Is this the beginning of even more restrictions on devices outside of the users’ control?
Apple’s patent claims that whilst in the venue, should a user attempt to use their camera the phone would simply display a “recording disabled” message when audience members attempt to take photographs or videos. Alternatively, a watermark or blur effect may be applied, to discourage people from sharing them.
With this type of technology, how easy it would be to implement this restrictive infrared beam and stop the recording of other situations where it is legal and important to document events like law enforcement infringements and political rallies.
The question is this: do we really want Apple to get to decide what we can and can’t record?