Apple Just Patented a Device to Stop You Recording Live Shows

Beyonce performs during the half-time show of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans
Beyonce performs during the half-time show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Lucy Bayly

Apple just had a patent approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that would disable iPhone cameras from recording or photographing live shows.

The patent, originally applied for in 2011 but only officially granted this week, was for “Systems and Methods for Receiving Infrared Data with a Camera Designed to Detect Images Based on Visible Light.”

The technology basically involves an infrared device that an artist would set up on stage to beam out encoded signals. A receiver (aka your iPhone) would decode that data, rendering the screen incapable of recording.

Read More: Apple Patent Imagines a Keyboard Without Keys

Many a concert-going experience has been ruined by someone's phone blocking the view and, while Apple's new approach might seem a little Edward Snowden-esque to certain fans, performers have long expressed frustration at the faceless sea of iPhones on display at live shows. Just last month Adele chided a fan who was recording a concert of hers in Italy, saying, “I’m really here in real life, you can enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera.”

As for whether or not it will ever be socially acceptable for someone to watch a big show on a small screen, one commenter wrote on a forum debating the issue: “This person likely paid through their nose for a ticket. They can watch the gig through a kaleidoscope whilst dressed as a member of The Village People if they want to!”