Microsoft patent application reveals plans for paid Zune sharing

It looks like Microsoft might be considering shaking up its Zune Marketplace a bit, with a recent patent application revealing its plans for "off-line economies for digital media" or, in effect, paid Zune sharing. Basically, users would be paid a sales commission for sharing songs with other Zune users -- only if that user actually ends up purchasing the track after the usual three free plays, that is. What's most interesting, however, is that the system could potentially work with "pirated" music as well, with the application specifically stating that "even resale of pirated media content benefits the copyright holder." Of course, there's no indication as to when or if the system may actually be put in place, though it would certainly seem to go some way towards making the Zune more "social" -- in a bugging your friends to join Columbia House sort of way.

[Via ZuneScene]