The more control you have the more Microsoft will charge you.

From the You’ve-Got-To-Be-Fucking-Kidding-Me department (actually it’s an article on the Techdirt blog) comes word of the latest Microsoft patent application:

Users’ fears of TiVo restrictions will only be heightened after reading Microsoft’s just-published patent application for Control-based content pricing, which describes a scenario in which viewers are charged higher fees if they skip commercials or replay sports highlights.

Reading the patent application is a lesson in picking your jaw up off the floor at the sheer audacity of it all. Granted the cost of content can go down as well as up, but it’s still a stunning example of just how far Microsoft is willing to go to make money off of you in anyway they can. Skip the commercial, your price goes up, want to replay a scene, your cost goes up (each time you do it), want to advance the content forward, your cost goes up. Here’s the rationale Microsoft lists for this new method of sucking every dime out of you that they can:

    [0002] Television-based client devices, such as digital video recorders, are implemented by television viewers to receive video content in the form of video on-demand entertainment, such as movies, and to receive broadcast and/or interactive television entertainment and information. For example, a viewer can initiate receiving a movie for viewing from a video on-demand server system whenever it is convenient for the viewer to watch the movie. A digital video recorder includes a hard disk memory so that the viewer can also record the video content, and other media content of interest to the viewer, for future viewing when more convenient for the viewer.

    [0003] Typically, media content providers of music, movies, and television control and authorize the distribution of the media content based on economic models that charge consumers a subscription fee to obtain authorized access to the media content, such as a monthly subscription fee or a one-time pay-per-view fee to receive a particular movie, sporting event, or other type of premium program for viewing. Further, typical subscription pricing, such as a monthly fee, is static from month to month and does not reflect the viewing choices and habits of individual viewers.

    [0004] The advent of on-demand programming, such as video on-demand from a media content server system and recorded on-demand media content, provides a viewer with the option to navigate a program with media content navigation features commonly referred to as “trick modes”. These navigation features are typically initiated by a viewer with a remote control device and include commands such as fast-forward, skip-ahead in the program, jump to a next segment, pause the program, rewind, and the like.

    [0005] Fast-forward and skip-ahead navigation control inputs from a viewer, while beneficial when used to shorten the time for viewing a program, enables the viewer to skip past advertisements that may be prepended to a video on-demand movie, for example, or that may be interspersed between segments of a program, sporting event, or movie. In addition to the revenue obtained from viewers for monthly content subscriptions and pay-per-view purchases, these advertisements for products and services are a large source of revenue for a provider of the media content. However, advertisers will be increasingly unwilling to have their advertising messages communicated with media content that a viewer can navigate to skip over the advertisements.

    [0006] Accordingly, media content providers need to provide alternate advertisement revenue models so that advertisers will continue to sponsor advertising messages being delivered with media content for consumer viewing.

It’s right back to the whole “skipping commercials is theft” argument that some folks in the television industry have been crying about ever since TiVo first showed up on the scene. The entertainment industry isn’t going to be happy until they can either force you to watch their commercials or charge you money if you don’t. Microsoft wants to be the company to make that possible. This is the future that awaits us with the growing deployment of Digital Rights Management. First strip away your fair use rights and then charge you money if you want to make use of them with their media. How long will it be before they start charging you money to change the channel or, for that matter, turning off your TV? If your TV is off you’re not watching commercials and THAT’s stealing from the networks, you naughty criminal you!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I won’t be buying anything that makes use of this technology. 

12 thoughts on “The more control you have the more Microsoft will charge you.

  1. That’s ok, someone will just work out a mod for the TiVO that blocks the extra charges, just like some homebrew genious found a way to disable their TiVO unit from recognizing the broadcast flag (more like enabling their unit to completely ignore the flag but same difference).

    Then again, if Microshaft didn’t put the patent out, doubtless Amazon, eBay, Google or Yahoo! would have.

    I still don’t see how they can claim skipping commercials is theft, if the consumer is already paying a premium price to view the content. Hypocrites.

  2. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I won’t be buying anything that makes use of this technology.

    Ah, but will you be able to make that decision?

    With music, its far enough on this path that you cannot do anything *but* pirate stuff if you want to evade the clunky DRM-chains.

    On a more positive note of how you could see this – lets phrase this in a way that most here would accept: You pay money to NOT have to watch the ads. Wouldn’t that be acceptable if the price was marginal enough?

    After all, we do’t HAVE to watch or subscribe to anything. I do just fine whithout a TV. All I am worried is being restricted in my choice and my unhindered daily enjoyment of media – by either restrictive laws or technology. But since music, TV and stuff is a clear luxury, I am not anti-market enought to decry attempts to gain money from it. The bad thing to watch out for, as always, is clumsy implementation and monopolistic practices.

  3. Ah, but will you be able to make that decision?

    With music, its far enough on this path that you cannot do anything *but* pirate stuff if you want to evade the clunky DRM-chains.

    The last CD I bought was two years ago and it’d been years since I bought a CD before that. There’s just not that much stuff being put out these days that I want to own. True, I’ve downloaded a few MP3s of old 80’s tunes here and there, but by and large I’ve got most of what I want on CD already. I’ve pretty much stopped buying music at this point mainly because I’m not happy with all the DRM crap they’re putting on the CDs.

    On a more positive note of how you could see this – lets phrase this in a way that most here would accept: You pay money to NOT have to watch the ads. Wouldn’t that be acceptable if the price was marginal enough?

    Not if I’m already paying for the content to begin with. It annoys me to no end that I pay $10 to go see a movie in a theater (in addition to the outrageous concession stand prices) only to be bombarded with 10 to 15 minutes worth of ads before the previews show up. That’s not even counting the inane slide-show of local ads the theater have running when you arrive.

    I can live with network television ads and I can live with obvious product placement in programs (during the premiere of CSI they hid a Chevy Impala logo in the show someplace and if you spotted it you could win a new car), but you’re going to charge me money every time I replay a scene??

    After all, we do’t HAVE to watch or subscribe to anything. I do just fine without a TV. All I am worried is being restricted in my choice and my unhindered daily enjoyment of media – by either restrictive laws or technology. But since music, TV and stuff is a clear luxury, I am not anti-market enought to decry attempts to gain money from it. The bad thing to watch out for, as always, is clumsy implementation and monopolistic practices.

    I’m not against people making money from entertainment, but I am against people telling me how I have to enjoy my entertainment or it’ll cost me extra. This is the point I was trying to make about copyright law in another post to Justin. When I buy a book I don’t expect that I can only read it in the bathtub after 7PM on a weekday. I expect I can read it whenever and wherever I like. That I can go back a chapter and re-read it if I didn’t quite understand it to begin with and so on. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if Microsoft came up with a similar scheme for books? Why should my music and movies be any different?

  4. What a surprise when your government and corporations have so long used fascistic methods.
    Aim of free capital and market isn’t real competition and meeting of demand and supply but cartel, monopoly and trust and totalitarian control of anything. Everything else just interferes with making of maximum profit.

    And that cancer of humanity/society is also spreading, Australia was next one.
    Then came reborned Soviet Union, tyranny of Brussels whose fascistic directives made for copyright/recording mafia are bearing fruits. (they have also US like patent laws cooking up)

    Finland’s government is showing really arrogant form of corporationistic fascism by forcefully making law which just doesn’t submit to field of stupidity but is also illegal!

    New copyright law would make using VCR to record pretty much anything illegal.
    Direct translation of approriate moment would be this:
    “Recording radio or TV broadcast in any form which can be replayed is illegal without permission from broadcaster.”

    Also making backup of your CDs is allowed, but breaking copy protection is illegal!

    In practise you can’t copy and record anything but still you have to pay “compensation tax” (meant for compensating copying to own use) in every recordable media and now it’s even expanded to cover anything which can contain data, including hard disks and even devices meant for temporary storage of data!

    It’s full of such robbing consumers from all rights, but already those show well stupidity of law.

    Law’s preparation itself is as corrupted as it can be, father of law /preparer is “only” in payroll of two interest groups of copyright/recording mafia. All experts/consults came from same payrolls.
    Also law breaks constitution’s freedom of speach… and international treaties and declarations.
    It also forbids importing any recordings outside ETA (EU+couple other european countries), even those not released in here. I’m sure this breaks whole pile of EU and international treaties.

  5. Patent newer drm techniques as they come down the pipe, just to deny licensing to media companies. 

    I actually prefer movie chains run stuff BEFORE the movie starts, as long as the movie starts at the listed start time.  I remember days of sitting for 15 minutes staring at a blank screen, wishing they’d run previews, play music, or something to pass the time.  Some theatres played music beforehand, which I thought was cool.  Ads don’t bother me as long as they don’t interfere with what I’m trying to do, and I’m not forced to see them. 

    If my pvr starts costing me to skip and replay, I’ll ditch satellite service. 

    Those idiots don’t realize that people with skip features still watch commercials – albeit just the ones that interest them.  Popup and ad blocking software is popular, but some advertisers are too retarded to understand what that means.  Web advertising has annoyed me enough that I just don’t look at banner ads anymore, and if something does catch my eye, I’ll google instead of clicking, just b/c I don’t want to justify the banner ad.  Dumb of me, I know, but I’m irritated enough that I don’t want them thinking their banner ad is effective.

    How about when M$ and advertisers decide that you should be charged every time you change channels?

  6. There have been movies about the future where when a character is walking through a city, or urban area, there are ads blaring everywhere,  hologram style, or giant screens, sides of buildings. I think that movie with Tom Cruise where he’s trying to stop crimes before they happen… I forget the name… was one example.

    It’s coming to that. There’s a local mall that recently installed flat screens all over… as soon as you walk in you’re hit with ad content – they’ve even got grids of flat screens that are 4 x 3 panels in size – that play ad content…loud blaring ad content. I dont want that in my face while I’m at the food court. The supermarket we go to put flat screens with ad content at every checkout station. I’m paying for my groceries, and I don’t think I should be bombarded with this stuff while I wait for granny in front of me to write a check for her one can of cat food.

    If I pay for someone to deliver something to me – food, media, anything – I do not think I need what I am paying for to be accompanied by ad content. Imagine going to TGIFriday’s and having your server Todd stand there and bombard you with ad content for their affiliate companies right after he puts your food down. Or having to pay more for what you get to keep him from doing that. Paying for him to go away.

    There’s an ice cream man who drives around here playing the stupid song, and never gets a single customer… yet he keeps coming. Now him, I’ll pay to stay away. My cable company already gets enough of my money.

    ND

  7. I think that movie with Tom Cruise where he’s trying to stop crimes before they happen… I forget the name… was one example.

    It’s coming to that.

    “Minority Report”.

    And you’re wrong “The Running Man“‘s future is already closer.

  8. Well, the first time I bought an entire album from iTMS (well, almost; I already had two of the songs) was (you guessed it) Elton John’s Madman Across the Water, and so far the DRM hasn’t bothered me.

    COMMA BUT, I upgraded to iTunes 5 and tried to add a song (Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel) to my iPod and I couldn’t!

    Should I even bother downgrading to iTunes 4 just for 1 song?

  9. TheBoss, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I don’t have an iPod and I don’t use iTunes to play my audio files. I burned the Dan Reeder CD ASAP and I use that to listen to the one bit of iTunes music I own.

    TheJynxed, not necessarily true. There’s nothing stopping DRM from showing up in Linux as Linus himself has said he doesn’t have a problem with it. In fact there’s already a Linux-based portable media player out there—the GPX2—that has DRM in it.

    And, technically speaking, if a CD has DRM on it and the software I’m using in Linux plays/rips it without having a proper license for the particular DRM then I’m still breaking the law as the software is a violation of the DMCA.

  10. You get what you support.  That whole “Thin Edge of The Wedge” concept.

    For those Americans who believe that their precious Tivo’s (think a Golem-style pronounced “precious”) shall be, ultimately, safe from the CopyUltraRightists, oh how sadly sad you shall be one fine evening.  And furious.

    “Dammit, honey bunny, my fastforward button dont no work!  Did Bart’s morning ritual stickybun junk breakfast junk-up my *precious* Tivo remote…  again!?!?  Oh, my precious Tivo!  G-d damn this family!”

    A few things to calculate when imagining your copyright-lite havens…

    [] the Salesforce.com model shall prevail
    [] Tivo’s can not only download tv-schedule guides, but software updates, too, if enabled
    [] the Salesforce.com model shall truly prevail

    The Tivo Trojan…
    Read your License with Tivo.  You don’t own the code, and you don’t have a right to modify the code.  They do.  They can even render your Tivo hobbled beyond your control.  The efficiency of checksums shall rule the myopically limited media-centric lives of Americans come 2010.

     

    Salesforce.com, Salesforce.com, Salesforce.com…
    And, one day soon, you’ll only be able to “subscribe” to a digital video recorder *service*, where the “saved” (in reality, merely tagged) content is stored centrally far beyond your sticky, greedy and pudgy Americani fingers.  Oh, and your Tivo’s shall, eventually, cease to be “compatible” with your cable-system.

    “And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made…”
    While America, and its economic vassal states, embrace a more fundamentalist form of copyright (CopyUltraRightists, most of you), the Greater East shall not.  Americans are gradually owning less and less, and renting more and more.  Meanwhile, sparked by geopolitical rivalry, copyright shall die a quick death in the more caveat_emptor-roughshod societies on planet Earth.

    If American politics were more about results, and less about personalities, Americans might actually have a copyright law they like.

    rob@egoz.org

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