By Tatsiana Levdikova
Different countries have different laws about intellectual property (IP) rights protection. Some may argue that before the Internet protecting your IP was easier, while some disagree and believe that it’s easier because of the Internet. Whichever way you fall on the spectrum of that argument, blockchain can make protecting IP ownership rights even easier than before.
What Constitutes IP?
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) considers all “creations of the mind,” including artistic and literary works, designs, symbols, names, images and inventions that are used in commerce to be forms of IP.
IP can be protected by law in the forms of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, all of which allow creators to gain recognition and monetary benefits from their creations.
Blockchain in the Music Industry and Distribution
Publishing and distributing music in the music industry falls under a lot of different types of copyright because of the different areas of IP; from instrumentals to vocals. Typically, the record company holds the copyright to the recorded version of song(s) or album(s), while the musician(s) usually hold the copyright to the composition.
Before online streaming, musicians and record companies would get paid their cuts every time someone bought a record, CD, cassette, etc. Now, artists and record companies alike have a bit more difficult time when it comes to getting paid. Online streaming is tricky because streaming services have to send over the data of how many streams a song or album received before the musicians and record company can receive any of the royalty money.
Blockchain can help this. For instance, JAAK, a startup company, built a database which allows right holders such as musicians and record companies to add encrypted information to each song, which ensures that an accurate record of the streaming is created and stored. JAAK has been backed by large production companies such as Warner Music and BMG.
A smaller program created by Musicoin allows musicians to be directly paid each time someone plays one of their songs on the platform. To do this, Musicoin users exchange fiat currency for $MUSIC currency to purchase songs, tip the musicians and even purchase tickets to their favorite musicians’ concerts.
Blockchain in Newspaper and Magazine Publishing, Payment and Distribution
Because of the internet and social media, newspapers, and magazines have experienced a dramatic decrease in people purchasing printed ad space. While advertising managers are finding better, savvier ways of generating revenue for newspapers and magazines, the internet has also been working some magic.
Civil, a journalistic network owned by communities and based on trust and transparency, is aiming to save local journalism by helping out newsrooms. If a newsroom wants to join Civil, they must first apply to access publishing rights for the network’s platform, get vetted by the network and if they pass, must agree and “pledge” to abide by the journalism ethics stated in the Civil’s constitution. The network consists of CVL (civil) crypto holders which helps support the newsrooms and the network.
Blockchain in Book Publishing and Distribution
It was once thought that e-books were going to completely eradicate print books. While that was just a fevered rumor, book authors are having some issues with receiving what they are due. The book publishing industry is a multi-billion-dollar one; however, many authors don’t see nearly as much money as they should. Yet, there are companies out there trying to change this with custom blockchain solutions.
Publica is working on digital distribution, tradability of the finalized books, transparency of sales, and community building, among other things, with book ICOs. Because Publica is using crypto and blockchain, authors are able to determine if their book(s) are interesting to people or not and can keep a clear and concise record of their sales.
Blockchain in Indie Publishing
Indie publishing might just be one of the most painstakingly tedious areas of publishing: lots of passion with little to no return. However, several blockchain companies are working hard towards changing that.
Unlock, an indie publishing website using the Ethereum wallet, rewards content creators and readers according to the point-based system. Unlock provides the content creator a “simple snippet of code” to input into their website and doesn’t have any intermediary. Their website states, “there are no middlemen, no fees and no gatekeeper who could shut you down or control your distribution.”
Another indie publishing website, Narrative, puts their users in charge or making “good” content and give 85 percent of their revenue back to their users based on their three different types of content: personal journals, niches, and publications. This allows content creators to gain recognition while getting paid to publish their work. Narrative users don’t even have to be blockchain or crypto savvy, as Narrative can also pay out their users using fiat currency.
More to Come
Regardless of what industry you’re in, there’s more than likely a blockchain company in existence or just starting up that can benefit your intellectual rights. Do your research and find the blockchain company that best fits you and your business, along with your vision.
Tatsiana Levdikova is a Content Marketer at OpenLedger ApS, a blockchain development company. She is passionate about blockchain, IoT, health IT, natural language processing, web and software design and development, fintech, and more.