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Deutsche Welle, EU media blockchain consortium plans IDEAthon

Music Content Copyright

European Union-funded consortium, Bloomen, is exploring blockchain for media such as photos, videos and music. German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is one of the founders of the alliance, which is leveraging blockchain for improving content flows and creator remuneration.

The group is organizing an ‘IDEAthon’ later this month, and has invited industry players to join the event for ‘idea building and problem-solving’.

Media production and distribution are evolving with new technologies. However, content owners still face challenges to protect their intellectual property and receive payment for the use of their work. Bloomen aims to use blockchain and virtual currencies to provide a cost-effective framework for payments while maintaining the privacy of an individual without the need for intermediaries.

Barcelona’s music company BMAT and communication systems provider Antenna are the two other founders of the consortium. DW will likely supply the platforms such as radio, TV and online for blockchain trials. Meanwhile, BMAT has expertise in monitoring radio and TV music usage.

The Institute of Communications and Computer Systems/National Technical University of Athens will provide support to content partners. Additionally, members such as Worldline, Kendraio, Athens Technology Centre (ATC) and BMAT will help with the technological backing to ensure a market-ready system.

Payments company Worldline Iberia, a unit of the Atos Group, is co-ordinating the Bloomen project which was first unveiled more than two years ago.

Currently, digital content is at the forefront of the media industry. While it has opened up new avenues for creators and media companies, the existing compensation model is inefficient. The legacy copyrights management systems are not capable of handling the vast sea of digital data, nevermind track infringement.

Bloomen aims to launch pilots for the three areas, music ownership claims, photojournalism and WebTV services. There’s a focus on enabling better copyright protection and management, creating a robust payments system, efficient contracts, new content marketplaces and a decentralized ecosystem for all stakeholders.

As the current system cannot be replaced altogether, Bloomen is aiming for integration of blockchain solutions with existing content and copyright management systems. This will also help develop new applications without overhauling the current system.

Other goals of the consortium include developing a mobile wallet app, smart contract templates for the media industry and an integrated blockchain system to pilot applications. Bloomen plans to build a blockchain network by deploying the Ethereum-based enterprise blockchain Quorum.

Most other blockchain media initiatives focus on a single aspect. Meanwhile, Bloomen is aiming to create an all-encompassing system which works for the creators, publishers, legal systems and copyright managers.

Last month, the Italian Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE) partnered with blockchain firm Algorand to develop a copyright management platform. Japanese media and electronics company Sony is also leveraging blockchain for rights management of written works.

In China, internet giant Baidu has launched a blockchain solution for copyright protection of images on its exiting picture library.