Microsoft filed Kinect patent that governs your movie use

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 12:56 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft filed a Kinect patent back in April 2011 that would give the company free reign to monitor your movie-watching behaviour and shut down your viewing should an unauthorised person enter the room. Get more information from bizarro-world below.

Eurogamer reports that the patent – titled “Content Distribution Regulation by Viewing User” – was filed as a bid to ensure only licensed viewers could watch films bought on what appears to be Xbox Live marketplace. The patent was published online November 1st 2012.

The tech would have functioned on what the patent calls “pay per-user-view” basis, meaning that movie downloads would be tethered to an individual, or groups of viewers authorised by appearance, as monitored – but not exclusive to – Kinect.

The patent explains, “Content is distributed to consuming devices, such as televisions, set-top boxes and digital displays, with an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content.”

“The limitation may comprise a number of user views, a number of user views over time, a number of simultaneous user views, views tied to user identities, views limited to user age or any variation or combination thereof, all tied to the number of actual content consumers allowed to view 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.”

By “remedial action”, the descriptor refers to unauthorised viewers being asked if they want to purchase a license to watch the content before it continues. If they refuse, the content is then shut down.

Kinect isn’t referred to explicitly in the document, but two notes in the document are of interest – “Capture Device 620″ and a gaming console referred to as “612” – suggesting they are the Kinect device and Xbox 360 respectively, 720 at a long shot.

The patent continues, “Environment 612, with capture device 620, may be used to recognise, analyse, and/or track human (and other types of) targets.”

“For example, a user within the display area of the display 616 [the television] may be tracked using the capture device 620 such that the gestures and/or movements of the user may be captured to determine the number of people present, whether users are viewing content and/or may be interpreted as controls that may be used to affect the application being executed by computing environment 612.”

The line that follows suggests restrictions for unauthorised viewers, and reads, “such information may also be used to determine whether the tracked user is viewing content presented by a content provider.”

What do you make of this procedure? Is it too heavy-handed? Let us know below.

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