There have been lots of measure implemented to try and stop people filming films from the back of a cinema, but it persists. Phillips has an idea, though, and wants to use its Ambilight tech to deliberately mess with pirate recordings. That's according to a recent patent filing anyway.
In it the company acknowledges that there are a number of anti-piracy measures in place, like the use of spy equipment and watermarking, which make it possible to trace and identify pirates. They do not, however, prevent them from filming in the first place.
The concept of ambilight is simple, and it's similar to the effect Phillips has already implemented in some of its pricier TVs. By shining lights from the side of a cinema at the right frequency, it can apparently degrade pirate footage to the point where the final thing is completely unwatchable. That's "because the light source runs out of sync with the camera resulting in stripes running through the movie content."
Ambilight TV uses differing colours of light to match what's going on on-screen, which is designed to offer a more immersive viewing experience. This cinema system will do something similar, with the added bonus of messing with the pirates filming films from back of cinema. Provided, of course, that cinemas actually suffer the expense of installing what is bound to be a costly system.
Is this going to stop piracy? No. Films can leak anyway, which bypasses the cinema entirely. Similarly cinema piracy recordings have a reputation for being utter shite anyway, and people still watch them to avoid paying £10-£15 for a single ticket - or whatever it costs at your local cineplex. Will they power through to avoid those costs, and have the option of pausing it to go to the toilet halfway through?
Some won't, but some people will. Others will just wait for the film to arrive on DVD and pirate it then. Technology is all well and good, but it doesn't actually deal with the human element. Pirates will be pirates, no matter what rights holders do about it. [USPTO via TorrentFreak]