Will blockchain revolutionize the entertainment market and copyright protection?
The issue of copyright has traditionally been handled by intermediary companies that monitor the proper use of intellectual property.
Blockchain can be useful, through the creation of distributed ledgers, in facilitating the management and control of intellectual property due to its properties of incorruptibility and persistence of recorded data over time.
One of the prerogatives of blockchain technology is that it fixes within it the information that proves that a creation was conceived at a specific time in history and by a specific person. The content of the work remains secret, but is recorded in a string of letters and numbers, called a hash, which provides evidence of creation and the information needed to manage copyright.
Authors, publishers, blockchain
The many advantages that can be derived from the use of the distributed platform have not escaped the attention of the SIAE, a copyright protection society, which has decided to introduce the use of blockchain in partnership with the U.S.-based company Algorand.
Algorand has created a blockhain platform that lends itself to varied and beneficial use in a variety of areas, including the copyright sector.
NFTs, in this case, become evidence of intellectual property in its digital version and can be traded or sold through transactions that take place on the blockchain.
SIAE has registered on this database both copyrights, which refer to artists, and properties historically intermediated by it, exploiting the form of NFTs that are linked to authors’ accounts.
For the time being, the test bed has featured music assets as protagonists, but in the future it is not ruled out expanding the audience to other artistic content such as paintings, stage sets, and plays.
Among other advantages, the maximum transparency that the blockchain guarantees should not be underestimated: since everything is recorded in a Distributed Ledger, accessible to all nodes, authors become the sole masters of monitoring and managing their creations, while other participants in the network can oversee the respect of ownership. Obviously, the use of cryptocurrencies, or other digital currencies as a mode of payment, would make the management of economic exchanges even faster.
Smart contracts and the copyright of complex works
Distributed records are also a solution to complex content management.
In fact, they offer the possibility of digitizing data, thus avoiding the great confusion due to the large number and complex variety of content and authors, for example, registered with the SIAE.
When it comes to works of authorship, people often underestimate the number of participants who make the pieces of the mosaic a complete and meaningful picture.
Consider, for example, the production of a film in which every actor, from the protagonist to the extras, is crucial and functional to achieving an end result.
In the rights industry, all those who have taken part in the creation of a work must be protected, and through registration on the code string (hash), it is possible to ensure that everyone is acknowledged for their contribution, as long as it is determined by the contract.
For example, every time a film is reproduced, even years after its first release, all those who appear in the video must be compensated according to the image right. For this reason, contracts are drawn up that ensure that actors, for a specific period of time, are paid financial compensation, so-called royalties, proportional to the part played and the success of the film.
With this in mind, smart contracts could be useful in establishing the necessary and most advantageous conditions for both actors and producers.
The direct relationship between artists and fans
And for the fans or users of the product, what is the advantage?
The supply chain described so far ensures total freedom and the possibility for the artist to completely manage his or her own creations. This would entail the elimination of intermediaries between artists and fans.
The difference from the past, then, lies in the possibility of selling the track or record on the platform directly, without going through record labels.
Consider, for example, the sale of a piece of music: with online music platforms, the consumer is forced to pay a monthly fee to an intermediary who, considering all the links in the chain, will recognize the singer or band only a derisory amount compared to the price paid by the consumer. The same thing happens with the purchase of records.
Try to imagine, on the other hand, the possibility of non-brokered sales between artist and fan: the consumer could buy on the blockchain the songs or that he or she wants to listen to, paying directly to the singer a less substantial amount than he or she currently pays to the online platform or the record industry.
This would make it much easier for the singer or band to track their fans and also have direct and effective feedback on the audience’s liking of a song, at different stages of artistic life.
The substantial difference lies in the new relationship between those who produce music and those who listen, a new paradigm that involves a revolution not only from an economic point of view, but also in purchasing habits.
The future role of intermediaries
In an ever-changing world, the secret to making a business survive lies in fluidity, the ability to renew itself when necessary and to change course according to the direction of social mores and customs.
The SIAE, for example, has been ahead of its time by taking advantage of technology and exploiting all possible opportunities for improvement, while managing, however, not to be replaced by it.
The role of intermediaries need not disappear to make room for technology, rather they can become an essential form of support in the process of introducing technologies into everyday reality.
In doing so, they would become an indispensable and helpful piece for those beginning to take advantage of digital.
For many, the management of the most advanced technologies is still an insurmountable stumbling block, despite the many benefits that would accrue from using them.
In this landscape, companies such as ChainOn, which put themselves at the service of the client to ensure the correct sponsorship stipulation process, are essential for a progressive optimization of the resources made available by technological progress.