Blockchain technology has a wide variety of use cases, most of which are waiting to be discovered by aspiring developers and entrepreneurs. Distributed ledgers can play a significant role when it comes to issuing copyright claims, as tamper-proof timestamped logs can be created and made publicly available at the same time. But that doesn’t mean such technology will be able to replace the existing services as quickly as some people would like it to be.
Understanding How Copyright Offices Work
In this day and age, it has become rather easy and inexpensive to register a copyright claim. Previously, copyright issued in the US required creators to register their work with the Copyright Office, but that is no longer required. However, that is not preventing content creators from doing so, as it only costs $35-$55 USD to do so.
Registration of a work with the Copyright Office provides certain legal advantages in the US, as outlined by JD Supra. However, the biggest issue content creators have with this system is how it can take several weeks – or months – to receive a registration certificate. This is where blockchain technology could make a difference as claims could be validated immediately and protection issued instantly.
But that is not all, as the Copyright Office retains a copy of the work one filed a protection claim for as well. On paper, this may seem like a solid strategy, but it also creates a central point of failure. If those records would be lost, misplaced, or damaged, it becomes a lot harder to prove copyright protection for the content creator. Blockchain technology would offer a “backup” of this claim at any given time, due to its distributed and decentralized nature.
One thing hardly anyone realizes is how Copyright Offices offer other types of services as well, which can not be translated into blockchain-based alternatives at this time. First of all, there is the topic of entitlement, which allows content creators to go to court over a dispute. Registering a copyright protection claim on the blockchain would not grant this right unless significant changes are made to the Copyright Act. While this may not be an impossible feat for the future, there are no immediate plans to make any changes.
What may be even a bigger obstacle for blockchain technology in this regard is how developers will come up with a way to link an actual example of the copyrighted material to the ownership information in the registration record. Right now, the blockchain can create the record itself, but there is a missing link with the content in its original format, as this is not the same as a digital representation of the copyrighted material.
Shaping the Future of Blockchain-Based Claims
Several companies are exploring boundaries of blockchain technology for copyright protection claims already. Ascribe is one of the better-known firms in this regard, as they aim to create an unbreakable link between the creator and their work. However, this platform seems to be tailored towards digital content, rather than a physical medium.
Proof of Existence, on the other hand, will act as a platform to securely and anonymously store a digital proof for any document in the world. Once again, such a solution will not do much for physical content creations, and the anonymity factor does not make it any easier for content creators to prove they own the work when it comes to a court case.
That being said, there is still a lot of potential for blockchain technology to change the way copyright claims are handled. Collaboration between copyright offices around the world and blockchain industry experts could lead to new hybrid solutions that allow for public recording of copyright information while still providing creators with all of the legal tools they need.
What are your thoughts on changing the way copyright registration works through blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: JD Supra
Images courtesy of Techno Writer, Shutterstock
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