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:
-  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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.