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 Apple iphones and DRM

Apple iphones and DRM

June 13, 2011
Fig No 5 from Apple’s Patent Application

Apple has recently filed a patent for an infra red device, which can disable your iphone from taking pictures or recording footage during a concert. This is an interesting development for digital rights management. It may be another move by Apple to build up kudos with the music industry, as the industry’s cooperation is necessary to see the icloud beat Amazon and Google in the cloud media storage market.

However, concertgoers way find the automatic ‘shut down’ of their camera/ video camera on their handset a little intrusive. Taking photos or recording video in a concert may be more about sharing a social experience, for example, taking group photos, rather than ‘ripping off’ copyright material. Some argue, in fact, that low fidelity recordings accord with the US concept of fair use.  Others may wonder whether ‘watermarking’ the content may be sufficient to satisfy both sides of the bench.

That aside, positive uses have also been identified for the infrared patent.  Museums could potentially use infrared to transmit information to a device about an exhibit or link to relevant video content . It will be interesting to see how this particular use will differ from the increasingly popular QR barcode technology. The latter allows phone devices to scan a bar code and have information, such as a v-card,  delivered to a phone (interesting to note:  the patent on this innovation has been heavily disputed.