We see absolutely stupid patents made almost every day, and often times it has to deal with some sort of DRM strategy. The latest in this trend? Microsoft wants Kinect to help the MPAA milk your wallet for money.
The latest patent that Microsoft has filed states that it allows a camera like device (Kinect) to monitor a room when a movie is playing. During the monitoring the camera can track bodies of heat in the room, and there are several things it can trigger.
It will monitor how many people are in the room and how many times a user has viewed the content within so many hours. Direct from the patent: “The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.”
From what I take it, you only buy a "license" and not the product it self. You have a limited number of "licenses" and the more people watching it the more licenses you use. So if you want your family of 4 to watch a movie, then you will use 4 licenses. According to further details, those 4 licenses can only be used once in say 24 hours? If more than 4 people are watching the movie, it will request you buy another license for them, or the movie will shut off.
Lets not forget its constantly scanning the room, so if your friend steps in the movie will randomly stop and request they pay a fee to be standing there....
There are instances I could see this being handy for companies. Perhaps they are dealing to a shady theater and want to make sure the ticket sales are done properly and the theater isn't stealing money or letting people watch free movies. Okay, that works. However this patent affects everything else. Tablets, TV's, and all your private devices.
You want to be evil and stop church's, charities, schools, etc... from having public get togethers and showing a movie, okay. There could be reasoning here since the movies clearly state "for private viewing only." However taking it further is just plain being greedy as hell, heck this entire thing is absolutely greedy and stupid.
We constantly hear people crying about pirates stealing movies, yet they keep punishing those of us that buy the movies legally. We buy a movie and have to jump through hoops, and now we have to pay per person as well? Absolutely insane.
Ranting aside, so far this is just a patent. Lets just hope this sticks in the patent bin and never actually hits the market. It's almost as bad as all the "anti used games" patents both Sony and Microsoft have made.