Today, European law firm Fieldfisher launches 'Augmented Reality: The future of media and commerce'. Using industry case studies from String Labs, Immediate Media, BP, Virtual Medics and Inition, this paper explores the ways businesses can use Augmented Reality (AR), whilst ensuring they know about and consider the still-blurry legal landscape. The paper itself contains AR "Targets" throughout, powered by industry leader Blippar, so that readers can experience AR immediately.
Augmented Reality has quickly evolved from the pages of sci-fi novels to become an everyday reality with real commercial potential. What began in the 1960s with the Sensorama – a cabinet designed by cinematographer Morton Heilig that displayed 3D movies and simulated smells – has grown into an industry that analysts predict will be worth over $150 billion by 2020.
But as with many technical innovations, they come with legal implications. And AR is no different. Whilst many believe that existing law cannot be applied to this technology, other commentators disagree, arguing that AR is no different to other new technologies.
Fieldfisher says that the truth actually lies somewhere between the two.
Tom Guida, a partner and head of the Media team at Fieldfisher gives this example, "The legalities of using AR in branded entertainment and marketing campaigns can often prompt confusion: What rules apply when the advertisement is not visible in the ‘real world’? Must it still be approved by the local authority? Is it really entertainment content subject to OFCOM regulations? The answer, in short, is that compliance with existing advertising and media law is essential, even when the marketing campaign uses elements of AR that cannot be seen on paper."
"There are also a range of legal issues those in the media sector need consider even beyond the traditional legal issues such as are you liable for personal injuries or robberies of those playing AR games? And of course there is the evergreen topic of data protection and privacy."
Tom concludes, "The potential benefits of AR are clear to see, but with increased use will also come greater regulation. When implementing AR, businesses must consider a variety of factors, in particular the data they collect and process, especially where devices collect sensitive personal data. Although the same legal framework around data collection will apply to AR, this will need to be interpreted in line with the specific demands of this type of technology."
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