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Apple Patents "Enforceable" Ad Viewing On Devices 439

Rexdude writes "Apple has filed a patent that forces users to interact with an ad. FTFA: 'Its distinctive feature is a design that doesn't simply invite a user to pay attention to an ad — it also compels attention. The technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing.'" We've been following this story for awhile now but it seems to have broken into the mainstream.
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Apple Patents "Enforceable" Ad Viewing On Devices

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  • What has changed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:43AM (#30115126) Homepage Journal
    What has changed since the last story about Apple's advertising patent [slashdot.org]?
  • Re:Fortunately (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:58AM (#30115358) Journal

    This tech is already in use on nbc.com, cwtv.com, syfy.com, and so on. When you watch their streaming videos, they expect you to click "continue" after watching the advertisement. It's their way of verifying you seeing the ad.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by delire ( 809063 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:40AM (#30115898)

    but I can't think of a time when a corporation patented something bad soley as a way of preventing someone from using it

    I think you'll find that a cursory look at Pharmaceutical patents will reveal a large number of cures that no big player in medical marketplace would ever want to see in the wild, let alone see a vast population of people in need have access to at affordable prices [allafrica.com].

    Look also at Microsoft research: they come up with some extraordinary technologies/solutions that would no doubt undermine the broader, stable market for their existing inferior products if available on a desktop near you.

    I believe that all these nonsense Apple patents relating to advertising may reveal that Apple may soon ship an ad-encumbered version of it's OS for Intel hardware more generic than that already in the Apple line.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:52AM (#30116052)

    Actually that's completely incorrect. Why is it that every time /. sees a patent, we get a dozen posters who can't be bothered to read the patent claims yet talk like they know what the patent covers?

    Yes, the patent has something to do with advertising and encouraging users to watch it. No, that doesn't mean that everything that's ever been done to encourage people to watch an ad would be covered or, equivalently, can stand as prior art.

    Every independent claim in the patent talks about a featuer in an operating system being disabled, then an ad being displayed, then when teh ad ends that feature being enabled. What operating system feature is disabled in either of the examples you gave?

  • by stupid_is ( 716292 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @12:03PM (#30116202) Homepage

    The patent itself [freepatentsonline.com] has screenshots of a Mac desktop, so I'd imagine this is along the lines of "Here's a subsidised computer, but you'll have to watch our ads" - which has been done many times before. Here they present a "new" implementation.

    On the other hand, I'd hate to be in their legal team the first time someone comes unstuck using Skype (or equiv) from their computer for an emergency call, and obviously they've also written the patent to apply to stuff like phones & PDAs with reference to iTunes (see [0048] on p12). Odd that they didn't include language to be able to bypass this advertising for certain instances of the function being blocked (e.g. dialling 911 rather than dialling a chum).

    I wonder what would happen if you the advertising IPs in your hosts file? Conceivably you'd be bricking the box (while breaking the ToS you signed up to, too, no doubt).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:06PM (#30117104)

    From the patent:

    [0029]The following notes apply to one or more implementations described herein: The implementation of advertisement presentation in an operating system (OPS) can require an analysis of the level of security required from the perspective of the manufacturer or provider of the computer system. For example, a system architecture can be designed (or modified) to supply advertisement presentation, in a way that ensures or seeks to ensure that a user does not bypass the presentation and thereby renders it fully or partially ineffective. A person implementing OPS-based advertising can analyze a hardware structure and identify one or more points (e.g., parts and subparts) therein to which the advertisement presentation should be tied, both for purposes of facilitating the presentation and to provide the above-mentioned resistance against user actions. For example, hardware points can be identified and controlled accordingly, so that the advertisement presentation can in effect "take over the system" in relevant aspects for a limited time.

    [0030]In implementations where the OPS-based advertising is provided using executable code in the system, it can be necessary or desirable to protect that code from being removed, rendered inoperative, bypassed or manipulated. As another example, the system can provide constant or repeated monitoring of whether the system presents the advertisement(s) as scheduled. If non-presentation is detected, the system can invoke one or more enforcement routines to seek compliance with the advertisement presentation schedule. Such enforcement routines can include, but are not limited to, disabling the system in whole or in part, reporting the issue to a responsible party, invoking an alternative way of presenting the advertisement (such as by audio when visual presentation is impeded), or by registering the non-compliance in a log that can later be used in a follow-up process. In some implementations, an enforcement routine is implemented in a different part of the system (e.g., in a different software and/or other system component) than the OPS-based advertising feature it is designed to monitor. For example, an operating system can have a windows server that maintains windows and controls their presentation on a display screen, and the windows server in such an implementation can be configured or modified to provide for OPS-based advertising. As another example, when the advertising is visually presented in a user interface the system can be designed to not allow anything to be presented over that interface, or to prevent anything from being drawn on top of it.

    AKA... Trusted Computing [cam.ac.uk]. So all you Apple superfans wondered what that Trusted Platform Module in your machine was for? Now you know. It's to ensure that you don't own your own system... the one that you paid for. It's to make sure that it stays tied to Apple, and that little Stevie Jobs, and little Billy Gates, and little Stevie Ballmer can always yank it back into their control when they feel like it.

  • by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:59PM (#30118110) Journal

    The iTunes Store is DRM-free for music in the USA. In the rest of the world, it still has DRM on a number of tracks

    Oh really? I was under the impression that most of the world was DRM-free now? Seems Japan still has DRM, but not Europe? Do you know the details?

    Additionally, you're correct that some videos in the US itunes store do still have DRM.

    Worth noting that Jobs has--from the beginning--pushed for more and more lenient DRM, until it was ultimately removed from music.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#30119974)

    Count me in. Although Apple products look nice and shiny, I'm more and more convinced they are evil.

  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @04:53PM (#30121268) Homepage

    You don't the advertising IP. You point them to a fake server which only serves up invisible ads.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer