New Apple Patent: Transfer Songs Offline, But You Can't Listen Until The Bill's Been Paid

Apple was issued a U.S. patent on Tuesday (March 6) for an interesting way to deal with the transfer of copyrighted multimedia content from one device to another. Digital rights management security techniques often do a good job of screwing up the music, video, podcast or book so that the transferred file won't work. Apple's technique not only permits security while a Wi-Fi connection is available but enables the file to be transferred when no wireless connection exists, because it puts the file in a locked area. It's then unlocked once a connection is established.

The patent envisions using a device's NFC to transfer the file and to then alert the copyright holder, so the recipient can be charged. Once the NFC transfer is complete, "a gift file created using DRM keys associated with the giftee's account may be downloaded to the giftee device. If a network connection is unavailable, the giftee device may transfer a locked gift file and a corresponding gift license to the giftee device using a peer-to-peer connection. The giftee device may authenticate the license and unlock the gift file once a connection to the online provider is available." Of course, a thief could still trick the app into thinking that the copyright holder had been contacted when no such contact happened.