Microsoft has been granted a patent for a new type of DRM that works over p2p-style networks. By using public/private encryption keys, it could be used to reinvigorate p2p as a legitimate source of content. The patent explains, "Partial licenses are combinable to form a formal license that may be utilized to output the content."
With centralized content repositories, like iTunes, increasingly moving away from DRM, is there a place for this technology? Consumers are savvier than they were when the patent was requested in 2003. The idea of DRM on purchased content is definitely waning. However, the day may come when a legal version of p2p exists utilizing this technology. If that happens, Microsoft could be in a very good position. Could this even have implications for the Zune service? Could there be a bandwidth saving version that uses p2p?