When you watch a movie in a cinema, the tickets are sold on a per-individual basis, which means that if you and your friend wanted to watch the movie, both of you would have to buy a ticket each. However renting a DVD or streaming it digitally on your computer could basically allow you and (in theory) as many people as you like to watch the movie for the price of a DVD or digital download. It’s probably not what movie studios had in mind and it looks like Microsoft has a patent up their sleeves that could deal with that. Discovered by the folks at Eurogamer, the patent has been dubbed “Content Distribution Regulation by Viewing User”, which as the name suggests, is a way for Microsoft to help regulate who gets to watch movies bought from the Xbox Live marketplace.

Relying on a “pay per-user-view” basis, it involves technology that has the ability to restrict the viewing of movies assigned to an individual or a group, and that throughout the viewing of this movie, the individual or the group will be monitored to ensure that unauthorized users don’t get to watch the movie using technology like the Kinect. So what happens when an unauthorized user has been detected trying to watch the movie with you? According to the patent, “remedial action” will be taken in which a prompt will be shown asking if the unauthorized user would like to purchase a license in order to watch the content. If that person refuses, then the content is shut down, effectively putting an end to movie night.

It sounds like a pretty interesting patent and could be one of the ways to combat piracy, but at the same time it sounds a bit too restrictive and complicated and raises all sorts of legal questions, but what do guys make of this?

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