Sunday, March 11, 2018

Protecting copyright with blockchain?

I've been reading articles discussing how blockchain can be used to "protect" the interests of copyright and patent holders.  While I agree this technology would be helpful, we need to recognise that this is a philosophy of "protection" that is the opposite to technological measures such as encrypted media.

Blockchain provides a decentralised database technology, ensuring that records that have been added can't be faked, removed, etc without detection. While blockchain provides a level of authenticity and immutability.of the data not seen before, we are still talking about an enhanced database technology.

I've discussed the flaw in copyright law a few times, which is the outdated interpretation of Berne Article 5 used to claim that there can never be formalities with copyright such as registration.

Blockchain would be a great technology to use, along with modernisation of copyright law, to solve problems ranging from the orphaned works problem to the "not available for sale" problem which I believe is the root cause of a majority of copyright infringement.

Without the modernisation of copyright law, these technologies won't be all that helpful.  The technology would only provide a small benefit for copyright holders who are already visible, while the major problems in copyright law are with works where the copyright holders and licensing options have been kept hidden.

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