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French licensing association Sacem unveils blockchain music IP protection


Today URights, a subsidiary of the French music rights society Sacem, launched Musicstart to enable musicians to protect their rights using blockchain.

Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM), like professional bodies in other countries, brings together musicians and clients that want to use their music, providing a royalty collection platform. It’s similar to the PRS in the UK and ASCAP in the United States.

At this stage, Musicstart isn’t providing a royalty mechanism. Instead, it provides protection of intellectual property (IP) rights by logging a piece of music on a blockchain and providing it with a timestamp. In the IP sector, it’s called establishing priority. If someone else later rips off a tune, the original creator can demonstrate they were first.

It’s not particularly targeted at Sacem members. URights says it’s equally applicable to novices, experts and bedroom producers, and those that are not yet Sacem members. The barrier to entry is low, with a cost of €3.99 for one off protection for a single file or a monthly subscription of €4.99 for unlimited files.

It chose Tezos blockchain because it uses environmentally friendly Proof of Stake (PoS) even though Ethereum is now PoS but has higher transaction costs.

“Today, as new challenges arise with the emergence of uses such as NFTs and the metaverse, and as the challenges related to transparency and the traceability of works persist, Sacem is providing this new answer to the essential question of the protection of works, especially for creators who are starting their careers,” said Cécile Rap-Veber, CEO of Sacem.

The offering is part of URights, an online music platform launched in 2017 that Sacem developed in association with IBM under a ten-year co-management agreement.

Some musicians are taking the leap of publishing their own music as NFTs through platforms like Audius. And the major record companies are all getting into the NFT sector, with multiple bands being created around the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. But perhaps the biggest opportunity is for metaverse-based live events.

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