Legal and IP News

Alibaba, HTC invest in blockchain property rights startup

digital rights music guitar

On Tuesday Blockchain-based property rights startup Bitmark Inc announced it has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round. HTC led the investment with participation from existing and new investors, including Alibaba, WI Harper and DCG.

Content creators – both individual artists and corporates – every year lose billions of dollars in revenue from data piracy. Bitmark is developing a blockchain network to circumvent these issues and allow content owners to capitalize on their intellectual property.

“Bitmark’s system for digital property rights greatly expands the promise of blockchain technology by assigning unique ownership for digital assets of all types,” said Phil Chen, HTC’s Decentralized Chief Officer.

In an era where data is a significant revenue driver, Bitmark envisions an ecosystem where individuals and corporates can share data safely and with transparency. “Digital property rights are the missing link that will allow the Internet to enable a far more inclusive economy,” said Bitmark Inc CEO Sean Moss-Pultz.

The company has already on-boarded several entities on its blockchain network. The most notable platform applications are in the health and music industries.

Drugmaker Pfizer and diabetes tracking app Health2Sync are part of the ecosystem. Using Bitmark’s blockchain, medical researchers can crowdsource data directly from patients while protecting their privacy.

Two years ago, Bitmark signed up UC Berkeley School of Public Health for individuals to donate data for public health research. Health data owners can easily view where their data is being used. For researchers at UC Berkeley, this system provides access to a broader spectrum of data, and there is a larger donor base spread across the world.

For musicians and artists, the biggest problem is violations of copyright and a weak royalty payment system. Bitmark has partnered with KKFarm and CTBC to enable music streaming service KKBOX to efficiently record, track and transfer rights of access to musicians royalties.

Blockchain for data rights also has been explored by Sony. Currently, its project targets only written works and logs the date and time of creation of the electronic data as well as the creator, making it hard to falsify. The novelty is it doesn’t just protect the rights of the whole, but also any part of it.

In China, Baidu launched a copyright protection blockchain for media, especially photography. Koch Industries is working on a blockchain-based intellectual property licensing platform. And EY and Microsoft announced a royalties blockchain for games.