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Kinect might keep track of who’s watching movies

Get your copies of 1984 at the ready people, as a patent entitled “Content Distribution Regulation by Viewing User,” that was registered in April 2011, has now been published for the first time and shows Microsoft’s Kinect technology being used to make sure only licensed viewers are watching a movie you paid for.

“The technology, briefly described, is a content presentation system and method allowing content providers to regulate the presentation of content on a per-user-view basis,” reads the patent published on the US Patent Office’s site.

Kinect Hal 9000
I can't let you watch that Dave

It isn’t very specific about the way the technology could be employed, suggesting that it could either track the number of views over time, or the number of people watching simultaneously. In either case, the movie could be restricted if the number is exceeded. It could also be used however to prevent certain people – perhaps those that don’t have an account with the content provider – from watching the media.

“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.”

While this patent isn’t directly linked with Kinect, it would seem that Microsoft’s 3D camera would be a great way of doing so. However smartphone cameras could potentially also be used.

One theory – speculated on by Eurogamer – is that this technology could allow for the simultaneous release of movies in cinemas and on the Xbox platform, perhaps through Netflix or other providers.

KitGuru Says: While the above idea would be pretty cool, the idea of any company using a camera to track people in my own home would prevent me from ever signing up to it. What about you guys?

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