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Apple patents device to block recording at concerts

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We’ve all been there. You’re at a concert, and the band on stage is just amazing. You can’t tell if it’s the fact that you’re a little drunk, or they really are that good, or maybe it’s that mysterious tin-foil wrapped brownie that nice stranger with the white guy dreads gave you, but whatever it is, you really want to remember this moment forever.

So you pull out your smartphone and flip over to the camera app so you can record a few minutes of blurry video and tinny sounding audio that you will in all likelihood never watch again.

But what’s this? It won’t let you record your video. All it says is “Video Recording Disabled.” Has this happened before? No, there’s usually no problem when you want to record videos of your cat freaking out at the vacuum cleaner and, in fact, you have several hours of such footage by now, irredeemably clogging up your cloud storage.

So engrossed are you in capturing this moment, you wander around, elbowing your way through the crowd of concert goers, desperately trying restarting your phone, and looking for your tech savvy friend.

By the time you give up and realize what’s happening around you the show is over. The band is gone and the clean up crew is setting up for tomorrow’s Nickleback concert. Desperately you flee the arena, as anyone would, and try to figure out what went wrong.

Well it turns out it was actually Apple screwing you over in this situation. You see, Apple has recently patented a device that communicates with infrared receivers on stage to remotely disable the recording feature on smartphones.

And this being Apple, they promptly sold the idea to several concert venues who hope to use the technology to put their heavy jackboot down on the throat of bootleg concert recordings.

Bootleggers illicitly recording live shows have been a concern for bands and concert promoters alike for decades, ostensibly because they are under the mistaken belief that people would rather listen to an amateur recording of a show instead of seeing a band they love live because apparently those are the same thing in their minds.

And of course, like everything else, technology has made the process of making these recordings easier as time has gone by. The promulgation of smart phones and the resulting ubiquitous miniature cameras in everyone’s pocket has made fighting these recordings a challenge. Some venues have even begun requiring that cellphones be placed in holding with the house before allowing people into the show.

Of course this is an inelegant solution and impractical in larger venues, creating a niche that Apple has now identified, targeted, and slathered itself in grease in advance of sliding on into.

So this is ultimately a win-win for apple and the corporate thugs who run music festivals these days. Apple gets to sell some tech, music venues no longer have to deal with jerks recording the show on their cellphone, and one day soon, low quality footage of Bonaroo on Youtube will be a relic of a bygone age and yet another victim of the intractable advance of technology.

This article originally appeared on as Apple patents device to kill bootleg concert recording.

Wyatt is a writer at 301 Digital Media. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.

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