Cell Phone Jammers invade theaters..

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Chris, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Not from the owners, of course, but by viewers. Apparently, here in KC (tomorrow in the star) and article will run suggesting that some patrons are bringing their own "cell phone jammers" to downtown theaters and employing them the moment they sit down.

    With jammers going for small money on the internet but illegal (in most usage) in the US, there is debate on how much effort to stop said jammers.

    Anyone else have similar stories in their areas? I hadn't heard much about such a thing until I got the "news clips" update, kind of a preview of tomorrow's news..
     
  2. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    I just went to a new movie theater last Friday to see "Be Cool". It was the grand opening of the theater. As I always do, I went to turn my cell phone to manner mode and I noticed I was getting no service. If I moved my phone around, I could get one little signal bar (it goes up to 5 or 6) but it wouldn't last. I considered that the new theater might be using some sort of cell phone blocker and I had everyone I was with check their phones and they were all experiencing the same thing. Whether it was the theater itself, one of the patrons using a blocker or just a fluke incident, I didn't mind at all. I can't remember the last time I've been to a movie where someone's phone didn't ring and I'm sick of it, and if disabling every cell phone in the theater is the only way to do it, then so be it.
     
  3. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    It's illegal for the theatre to use an electronic jammer, but they would be legally entitled to have constructed their building in a manner that would hamper the reception of cell phone signals. Or some other customer had an illegal jammer nearby.

    I must be lucky, I can probably count on one hand how many cell phones I've heard ring during a feature in the past 10 years of moviegoing. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ben_@

    Ben_@ Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like this could be the birth of certain "cell free" (like smoke free) areas. I don't particularly have a problem with it, and I can't imagine most of the movie going public would either.
    Personally, i'd rather have the theater deal with it rather than "vigilante" patrons. You never know if you're in a crowd where no one has a jammer. I'd rather just know ahead of time that there will be no distractions. [​IMG]
     
  5. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    Why would such a jammer be illegal?

    Another question is, would signals a cell phone jammer emits interfere with necessary electronics, such as someone's pacemaker?

    I wonder if Peter has it right, that perhaps the theater was very subtly built to block cell phone signals? Hey, stranger things happen!
     
  6. Brett_B

    Brett_B Supporting Actor

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    Actually, I applaud the "vigilante" patrons. If it wasn't for rude (or inconsiderate) people insisting on taking phone calls inside the theaters, there would not be any "vigilante" patrons to be concerned about.

    The way I see it, if the cell phone problem has escalated into people buying "jammers", obviously the theaters aren't doing there part.
     
  7. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    But alas, this could open the theaters themselves to a MAJOR lawsuit if person in the theater with a cellphone has to be reached for emergency reasons. Not a good idea!

    A better suggestion is to have the theater encourage customers to switch their cellphones to "vibrate" mode and to discourage callers from using their cellphones in the theater.
     
  8. Brett_B

    Brett_B Supporting Actor

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    What would be the evidence to support the lawsuit? Why not sue hospitals as well?
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    While jammers are not illegal in Mexico and many other places, they are illegal in the US. The reason the cell phone industry gives is two fold:

    (1) They pay for and maintain their frequency signal and have it handled through the FCC. Unlawful interference with it of any sort hinders their product.

    (2) Jammers can not discriminate between cell phones/pages or between calls, as they functionally jam all of a frequency band in a small area; meaning that (in their hypothetical) a doctor who would respectfully put his device on "vibrate" would be unable to receive emergency callbacks to a hospital, etc. if attempts were made to alert them.
     
  10. Shane D

    Shane D Supporting Actor

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    if anyone cant be out of contact with real life for 2 hours, then there is something wrong in that life. people survived 20 years ago without pagers and cell phones, its not that hard to do now either.
    if you cant survive without your phone in a movie theater, then dont go. its as easy as that.

    same thing with pepole who have to smoke while they eat, can you NOT wait 40 minutes to not suck smoke into your system? geez.
     
  11. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    What do hospitals have to do with this?
     
  12. Brett_B

    Brett_B Supporting Actor

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    ThomasC,

    It has nothing to do with this, but "if" people are going to sue because they missed an emergency call, where do you draw the line with lawsuits.

    I was trying to be "tongue-in-cheek" in responding to the "open themselves up to MAJOR lawsuits".
     
  13. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    Amen to that! Here's another tip...if the life or death phone call is going to come through any minute now maybe you should examine your prioritys and skip the movie for that night.

    For almost a century movie patrons had no problems sitting through a movie without a phone, now all of the sudden we can't do it anymore?
     
  14. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Regarding the issue of being able to receive pages / calls at the theater - Some people, such as yours truly, are oncall 24x7. I don't get called often, but I am expected to respond when someone pages me. That may not be most folk's experience, but that doesn't mean it does not exist.

    - Walter.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    But if you are on-call 24/7, you need to stay in locations where reception is good, and that's a total crapshoot and location-dependent. That's the responsibility of the person on-call, to determine their location(s) is good enough to receive calls/pages for the time spent at a given location, it's not the theater's responsibility to make sure those on 24/7 call can receive calls/pages while inside their building. That's unreasonable.
     
  16. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    I wasn't suggesting that theaters are responsible, Patrick; and I have received pages while at the theaters I frequent ( in vibrate mode of course ). I was merely offering an alternative viewpoint to the notion that the ability to be out of contact is universal. (The merits of that are another issue.)

    - Walter.
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I'm with you there Walter (24/7/365). Besides, I'm the first person to turn my pager to vibrate and my cell phone never leaves my car. Also, if you like berating as entertainment, come to the movies with me and wait till I spot someone with a cell phone out in the open. The viciousness I rain down on them and their ancestors, decendants and immediate family is howls of laughter for the whole family. I've been know to say to a person "Put that friggin thing away and if it goes off during the movie you'll be talking on it out in the hall, because that's where I am throwing it!" Gets a round of applause ever time.

    Anyway, this has been discussed ad nauseum before (with the same moronic "Need to get a life" statements about people who are on call [​IMG] ). See this thread:


    I applaud United Artists Theaters - their no pager policy

    Nothing new under the sun here at the HTF...
     
  18. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Jeff - Oh yeah, I remember that thread. [​IMG] After re-reading a few entries from it, I suppose I should leave this topic alone. Cheers.

    - Walter.
     
  19. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    I have nothing against people being on call, personally i've never heard a cellphone call in a theater that sounded anything like an on call employee receiving a call. Mostly I hear BS like "Yeah i'm at the movie, yeah i'm with teddy i'll call you back when it's over." I've never heard "I'll be there immediatly to face this new on call disaster"
     
  20. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I don't think anyone is unreasonable enough to think that there are not jobs that require a person to be on-call 24/7, only that such a job requirement doesn't allow those on-call the reasonable expectation to always be reachable 24/7 via technology depending on the locations the on-call person visits, even in the case where certain facilities will make it tougher to receive calls/pages via shielding or jamming.

    You could easily miss a call/page while driving through a tunnel, underneath a bridge, or just by being out and about in the countryside. Stuff happens.

    Those who are on-call are the ones who should be held responsible for checking to see if their current location allows them to be reached by technological means, and take measures when they are not in a location conducive to receiving calls/pages. The onus of reachability should not be be placed on the establishments that those who are on-call visit.
     

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