Except for all that stuff they hate even more, there’s nothing Hollywood hates worse than the fact that you can share a movie you paid for with your family without paying again. That’s why Microsoft has filed a new patent to make sure no one gets to watch something they haven’t paid for by turning Kinect into a living room spying device.
Alright, so it’s not quite 1984, but it’s still disturbing for other reasons. Here’s the abstract, via the US Patent & Trademark Office:
A content presentation system and method allowing content providers to regulate the presentation of content on a per-user-view basis. Content is distributed an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content. Consumers are presented with a content selection and a choice of licenses allowing consumption of the content. 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.
In plain English, that means that you’ll be paying more depending on how many people are watching the content. As disturbing as that is, there’s more here. Gizmodo seems to be worried that Microsoft could use facial recognition described in the patent to regulate content based on how it perceives the user’s age, but we’re not so sure about that.
The patent does mention something called ‘processing unit 191,’ and says that it could be used for ‘executing object, facial, and voice recognition algorithms,’ but there’s no mention of actually monitoring the user’s age, and really doesn’t seem all that nefarious. Unlocking a computer based on facial recognition or a certain object (computer keys, anyone?) actually sounds pretty cool.
At any rate, while there are some intriguing hints about the future of Kinect in the patent, we really, really don’t want to live in a world where our TV becomes Hollywood’s new content police. We’ve got enough of that already and frankly, it’s getting pretty tiresome. You hear us, Microsoft?
Big Brother Image by Shutterstock