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Report | Kinect 2 Patent Hints At Visual DRM: "The Users Consuming The Content Are Monitored"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Kinect 2, Microsoft, Patent, Report, Xbox One

Report | Kinect 2 Patent Hints At Visual DRM: "The Users Consuming The Content Are Monitored"

"Remedial Action May Be Taken"

Kinect 2 is a core part of the Xbox One experience; always-connected, always listening out for voice commands and always watching. However, a patent for the device suggests that it can also be used to monitor how many people are looking at a piece of content such as a video or TV show, so the copyright holder can set a maximum viewer restriction... followed by "remedial action" if it's exceeded.

Extremetech, who spotted the relatively old patent, quotes thusly: "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." It, erm, doesn't get much blunter than that. The menacing-sounding "action" will likely be a prompt to purchase a pricier, larger license for the content in question.

MCV reports that the patent is indeed a little on the archaic side (dating from 2011), but that "industry sources" have confirmed that Kinect 2 will indeed support this system within the last month.

Just because Kinect 2 might allow for visual DRM doesn't mean that everyone has to use it. But it will be very interesting to see who does, and where this concept could lead going forward. Or, perhaps, do you think that this could just be a bunch of old cobblers? Patents frequently don't equate to practical real-world applications, after all.

Add a comment12 comments
stevenjameshyde  May. 24, 2013 at 11:42

Can it add height restrictions to Call of Duty titles? Use voice recognition to kick people out of online lobbies if their voice hasn't broken yet?

kluber  May. 24, 2013 at 12:04

I'll just turn the camera to face the wall. I dont like this Big Brother.

Late  May. 24, 2013 at 12:18

So if you're having a few friends over to watch something you might want to hire this guy's make-up team?

http://www.zootpatrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/liu1.jpeg

Cave Troll  May. 24, 2013 at 12:22

I've heard there's also been a patent applied for that monitors if a person is watching the screen or not, which makes me think of Fifteen Million Merits where the adverts are paused if it thinks you're looking away.
1984 here we come....

Late  May. 24, 2013 at 12:30

I'll just turn the camera to face the wall. I dont like this Big Brother.

Oh yeah - that might be easier than the painting option, come to think of it...

Tsung  May. 24, 2013 at 12:48

Turn the camera and helpfully the console will notice no-one is watching and go to sleep. Best thing you can do is try and trick it with it pointing somewhere else with a single blowup doll or something.

I do wonder, if the government were to insist we install camera to watch us watching TV and monitoring our heart rates we would be up in arms. But if Microsoft want to do it, it's fine.. :P

Quietus  May. 24, 2013 at 13:04

Take a photo of yourself sitting in the correct position, and tape it to the front of the Kinect.8)

Realhoneyman  May. 24, 2013 at 13:17

I find this troublesome. Why does a corporation need to take such an invasion of privacy to consumers who want to use the new Xbox One? I think if this gets implemented it will provide even more reasons to turn potential customers away from Microsofts new console and that can't be a good thing in the long run.

Seriously, where's the discretion at least?

JonLester  May. 24, 2013 at 13:36

@Late & Quietus: Sorry chaps, but a picture won't cut it. ;) Kinect is a depth sensor, so you'll need an impressive sculpture at the very least, perhaps even with realistic facial blood flow if some reports are to be believed*...

To be honest, I can see a few practical problems with this system (not limited to sustaining LOS with the primary account/license holder and only playing content if they're present - what happens if they shave etc?). Patents often lock down features that don't have any real-world applications, but MCV's sources are a little worrying. With luck, content providers will use their discretion to ignore this feature out of hand if it makes it into the final product.

EDIT: socialjeebus also raises some fundamental rights issues that may well keep visual DRM on paper in some territories (below).

* The Guardian, for example, reports that "the sensor can track micro fluctuations of blood flow in your face." http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/22/xbox-one-kinect-controller-hands-on

Last edited by JonLester, May. 24, 2013 at 13:52
socialjeebus  May. 24, 2013 at 13:40

I find this troublesome. Why does a corporation need to take such an invasion of privacy to consumers who want to use the new Xbox One? I think if this gets implemented it will provide even more reasons to turn potential customers away from Microsofts new console and that can't be a good thing in the long run.

Seriously, where's the discretion at least?


There is zero chance of this happening in the EU.

The authorities are sick enough of Microsoft to allow this gross invasion of privacy.

Plus it also raises serious child protection issues if children are being monitored.

What parent would want little Johnny being recorded whilst playing COD, etc.

It'll be hilarious seeing them try this in Korea.

Sony got there backsides kicked for trying to use location data on the PS Vita.

Late  May. 24, 2013 at 14:06

On the bright side, this thing will have a perfect record of anyone who burgles your house. Not that you or the police will get to see it, mind - the burglar's rights will be protected by Microsoft, because he hasn't agreed to their terms and conditions.

In fact, you'll probably be billed by Microsoft, because an extra person has started using your machine.

[/cynic]

Damn but I'm in a cheery mood this afternoon! lol

Last edited by Late, May. 24, 2013 at 14:06
DivideByZero  May. 24, 2013 at 14:16

As it goes, I have been using the Playstation Eye Toy (the one from the PS2) to record my living room for the last couple of years.

Cheap yet effective CCTV solution.

I would not like it if I thought other people could just look in though.

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