Copyright News
Is Blockchain Technology
Viable for Copyright Protection?
By. June Tessy
lockchain is a shared immu-
table ledger for recording the
history of transactions. It is
effectively a database that
is validated by a wider community,
rather than a central authority and
difficult to alter. The storage devices
for the database are not all connected
to a common processor.
The concept of Blockchain
was introduced in 2008 by Satoshi
Nakamoto, and then implemented for
the first time in 2009 as part of the
digital bitcoin currency. The tech-
nology has several possible uses for
different industries such as payments
which has become the most infamous
use, property management, supply
chain management, health records
management, energy grid manage-
ment, oil supply management, land
transactions, electronic voting, but
also copyright protection
Can It Be Used for
Copyright Protection?
A key concern in relation to copyright
protection in this digital age is track
ing of use of the author’s works. How
creators track and trace how their
works are used especially on the inter
net. In Europe, the European Union
has recently addressed this issue with
in the framework of its strategy for
a Digital Single Market. This is in the
context of its draft for the directive on
Copyright in the Digital Single Market
hereby calling for more rigorous monitor
ing for certain platform operators
There are also proposed uses of
the technology to aid in ownership
tracing especially where copyright-
able works have several rights holders
with competing interests. The tech-
nology could help clarify ownership.
It is said that a blockchain-based net-
work, which reflects the chain of the
rights transparently and invariably,
could contribute to a fair distribution
of revenue.
With regard to administration and
protection bodies, the idea of using
blockchain to identify, trace and track
ownership of works is recommended.
A content registry should accurately
record original ownership of a work,
and also record all subsequent trans-
actions involving that work. This is
normally managed by national copy-
right offices. Blockchain technology
could be used for this to ensure there
is no mutation or alteration to the
works entries.
Who Is Currently Doing It
nn PeerTracks and the
MUSE Blockchain
The platform PeerTracks is a music
streaming service and music sales
platform which allows direct pay-
ment based on blockchain and guar-
antees the authors 95% of the rev-
enue. They use the Muse blockchain
which is used to track and allocate
payments of royalties to the creators,
automatically splitting payments
when there are several rights hold-
ers. The technology can track which
songs are played, how many times it’s
played and exactly how much in roy-
alties each right holder is to be sent.
MUSE is a membership organisa-
tion in the cloud – a Blockchain spe-
cifically tailored for the music indus-
try. It serves as a global database for
copyrights, a means of payment for
all music related transactions (includ-
ing royalties) as well as a tool to sim-
plify licensing of musical works.
The service uses blockchain for the
transactions and transfers the money
directly from the user to the artist. By
means of smart contracts, artists can
determine the conditions under which
their songs can be used. Each indi
vidual uploaded song is then attached
to a smart contract. The payment is
automatically executed within a few
seconds while listening to songs and
shared between all right holders. In
Kenya, this would be a great consid
eration for the Collective Management
Organisations licensed by the Board to
collect and distribute royalties.
nn Blockai
The provider Blockai uses the block-
chain for writers and artists to time-
stamp their work, keep an eye out for
anyone violating their copyright, cre-
ate a permanent record of their work
and issue their clients a time-stamped
copyright certificate. Each user has a
profile which manages the respective
certificates and allows access to spe-
cific content. Once uploaded, the use
of the works can be tracked, copy-
right infringements can be detected
automatically, and the owner can be
informed about unauthorised access.
nn Bittunes
Bittunes has a cross platform web
and mobile application which allows
music artists to publish, sell and con
trol their indie music. It has a simple
rights and transactions Blockchain
implementation to provide the frame
work for an open global blockchain
for Indie music. The platform also
embeds Blockchain ID’s in each audio
file using digital audio fingerprint
ing to create a smart network-based
nn Decent
Decent is a Blockchain Content distri-
bution platform that is open-source
and utilises Blockchain to ensure trust
and security. It allows content creators
to publish content on the decentralised
network, allows them to determine
the cost and sharing scope. It pro
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