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Entertainers And Events Are Forcing People To Lock Up Their Phones: Is It The New Normal And Is It Actually Legal?


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April 21, 2022

Imagine the following scenario for a minute or two. You're at a concert and the venue asks you to lock your phone away for the entire performance? In essence, you will not be able to even check your text messages or emails at all while watching your favorite act perform. This is a reality for fans going to see comedian Chris Rock in concert on his new tour. The culprit in question is called the Yondr case. It's a relatively new product that's gaining popularity among entertainers. In essence, the Yondr case is a fabric pouch equipped with a magnetic lock that activates once inside a designated smart phone free space.

The only way to unlock the Yondr case is to have a venue staff member tap it to a base station. It's similar to the way a cashier removes the security tag from an item of clothing. Rock is one of several comedians who have adopted the use of Yondr cases in an effort to protect their material from being leaked online. Others include Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong and Michael Che. Entertainers rent the cases from Yondr, which then ships them to the artist to travel with or to the venues where they're playing. The product was invented in response to 21st century norms of being constantly connected to technology.

Yondr, which launched in 2014, has a simple purpose. They basically want to show people how powerful it can be when we aren't focused on recording and broadcasting special moments. The company has also worked with musicians, including Chance the Rapper, Solange, and Guns N' Roses, as well as with schools, courthouses, theaters, and sporting events. The good news is that you don't need to worry about your smartphone leaving your possession. Attendees keep the Yondr case with them. The bad news is that your phone is locked inside of a bag, which means you cannot actually use it.

So, what do you do if you truly need to access your phone? What if something major happens and you need to contact your family or even dial 911? What if someone needs to reach you with something important such as a babysitter or crucial work-related call? A great deal of people have medical devices that are connected directly to their smartphones. The bottom line is that there is a plethora of situations where you can't wait 2-3 hours or more to access your smartphone. However, you can feel your phone vibrate through the case. Although you can't see who's contacting you, you're alerted.

If you want to check your smartphone at that point, simply walk to the venue lobby and have a staff member unlock the case for you. It's an inconvenience, and you're missing part of the show, however it's not the end of the world. Guests can access their phones throughout the show at designated phone use areas that are located throughout the venue. Once you're finished with your call, text, email etc. your phone must be re-locked in the Yondr case prior to returning to the performance space. Anyone caught using a smartphone during the performance may be removed from the venue.

Logistically, implementing the Yondr cases causes a bunch of traffic at the venue entryways and exists. You can expect to wait at least 10-15 minutes longer in line when entering the venue. After the staff scans your ticket, they will lock your smartphone in the yonder case and explain to you exactly how it works. You can also expect to wait another 10-15 minutes in line after the show is over since you need a staff member to unlock your smartphone before you can exit the building. Although the process isn't completely overbearing, it is inconvenient.

Some people may even think twice about purchasing tickets to a show that requires you to lock up your smartphone. However, only time will tell if that ends up being true. For example, if Yondr cases become the norm at most if not all events will it actually deter people from attending? It certainly helps the entertainers from having people illegally record their shows. Does locking up your phone have any merit in regard to helping you enjoy the performance because you'll be less distracted? That's seriously doubtful.

It seems as if it would be far more distracting to leave your seat, walk to a designated area, and have an attendant unlock the case each and every time your phone vibrates. Some people may be curious if the Yondr case or a similar device is legal. As of now, nobody has filed a lawsuit against the company, artists, or venues. If you don't want to lock up your phone during a show or event you have the right not to. However, you won't be able to gain access to that show or event. It's an interesting debate to say the least.


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About the author

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Mark Scribner

Managing Director, Boston

Mark F. Scribner is the Managing Director of oXYGen Financial, Boston Office. Mark grew up in Melrose, MA and now lives in Boston. He has an amazing wife Michelle, who supports all of his crazy endurance endeavors, including a solo attempt to swim the English Channel! Mark is the father of four children - Mark, Bella, Olivia and Emma. He loves being an assistant NFL photographer and cancer fundraiser, along with creating and running various companies.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. https://Bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

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