Future Use Cases for Blockchain Technology: Copyright Registration

Future Use Cases for Blockchain Technology: Copyright Registration

Ever since the Internet came around, one of the biggest concerns has always been regarding copyright and the impact of online piracy on the earnings of content creators. Over the years, services such as Napster and Gnutella have come and gone, resulting in people legally buying music through platforms such as Itunes, or listening to internet radio via Spotify. But despite best efforts in the fight against piracy, it remains a real threat to this very day. This is where blockchain technology could make a huge difference.

Also read: What Is Bitcoin XT & What Is Happening With Development of The Bitcoin Core

Copyright Registration Is A Strange Process

Until a few years ago, most researchers concluded that piracy only took place because people don’t want to pay for things legally, even if it is of a high quality. To a certain extent, that statement seemed to hold merit, as the “new generation” has grown up with platforms where nearly all content they want is available for free, or else they know how to get it for free.

Yet at the same time, there has been a growth in terms of “all-you-can-consume” content service providers. Netflix is a prime example of how people will gladly pay a fair amount per month to consume all the movies and tv shows they want, whenever they want, on whatever device they want. The same can be said for services such as Spotify, digital prints of newspapers and magazines, and many more services around the world.

Our society has been evolving into a creature of habit, where convenience trumps everything. All-you-can-consume services, which charge a fixed pay rate per month, are seeing great success due to that shift in consumerism. The everyday consumer wants access to the content they need wherever they are, at any time, and preferably on any device.

This brings us back to the topic of copyrighting content in a proper manner. Despite there being plenty of ways to get content legally for a minor amount per month, piracy is still a major threat to content creators. Not only is online piracy hurting the income of content creators – although the true impact will always be a topic of debate – but it also exposes some weakness in the existing copyright issuing protocol.

Depending on where an artist lives in the world, obtaining copyright for self-created content is done in various ways. Countries such as Canada, for example, will simply send a certificate by postal mail for the price of US$50, which then indicates said person has a copyright claim to the specific content. However, when it comes to exerting that copyright claim in court, a simply certificate is not always enough.

Especially when it comes to creating digital content, such as an e-book for example, it becomes incredibly hard to obtain copyright registration for that type of content. Most countries around the world will automatically apply copyright registration as soon as content appears in some tangible medium. Digital content, on the other hand, is never tangible, but that doesn’t mean copyright registration does not apply there.

Using Blockchain Technology For Copyright Registration

To make the process of copyright registration for digital content more user-friendly, blockchain technology be the key factor in solving the puzzle. Copyright registration is effectively creating a form of ownership of that content while timestamping it and then tying that record to the person/group responsible for the creation of the content.

Blockchain technology could be of great importance in this regard, as it serves as a public ledger. Contrary to popular belief, the blockchain is capable of far more than just recording financial transactions of the past, present and future. In fact, blockchain technology can be used to issue and transfer copyright registration of both digital and physical content, if so desired.

Rather than tying the copyright registration to Bitcoin – the currency – a new platform can be built on top of the blockchain. This platform could then issue a token, serving as proof of authenticity, in which a timestamped copyright registration is contained. Once that token has been issued to a certain person, it can only be transferred to someone else when the owner signs off on the transaction with their private key.

From a legal perspective, transparency in terms of copyright registration can help content creators to exert copyright claims once they see their work being pirated. Due to the blockchain’s transparent nature, issued tokens can be viewed by anyone in the world, and the timestamp attached to each token will indicate whether or not a copyright registration was in place at the time of the pirated content making an appearance.

Copyright registration by using blockchain technology will not just provide benefit to digital content creators, but to any type of media owner out there. Not just because it should, in theory, be cheaper to register the copyright on the blockchain, but also because it is far more transparent than the current infrastructure.

What are your thoughts on using blockchain technology to issue copyright registration? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Wikipedia

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Jean-Pierre Buntinx is a freelance Bitcoin writer and Bitcoin journalist for various digital currency news outlets around the world, Jean-Pierre also has a keen interest in Fintech and technology, and he is always open to new challenges.