I got a curious e-mail today that linked me to an apparent 2006 Microsoft paper that outlines a music sales mechanism that appears to be mimicking what will be used by Microsoft for the Zune player.
It’s a pretty simple model, you download a music track for free, listen to it up to 3 times, and on the 4th you are locked out until you buy the track, this is through the use of DRM. The kicker here is there is a company called WeedShare that has a patent on this sales mechanism. If you look at the linked document and read paragraph 1.1 then go and look at the article that is written on Zune Insider Blog. It looks to me like Microsoft could be faced with a patent violation?
The word on the street is that Microsoft did not license the technology from WeedShare even though they knew about the patent, WeedShare is being pretty tight lipped about the whole thing. I am suspecting they can’t say anything at this point but as the anonymous e-mail said it smells funny.