Legal and IP News

Sony reveals rights management blockchain


Today Sony announced a rights management system using blockchain. The project is based on an existing system for authenticating, sharing and rights management of educational data.

The new initiative targets rights for written works. It logs the data and time of creation of the electronic data as well as the creator, making it hard to falsify. Similar implementations have been done in the past, ranging from proving that a press release came from a particular organization to Austria’s verification of public documents such as bus timetables.

The aspect that is novel is Sony says that it will “automatically verify the rights generation of a piece of written works, which has conventionally proven difficult.” Hence verification is not just the content as a whole but also any part of it. Usually, proof is logged on the blockchain by creating a hash or representation of the data. The announcement provides no detail about methodology. But if it uses the same process, then it implies that there could be many hashes each representing a sentence or paragraph.

Sony also stated that the system lends itself to rights management for other types of digital content. This includes textbooks, music, film, VR content, and e-books.

The project is a joint initiative between Sony Corp, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Global Education. Sony Global Education may commercialize the service. And Sony stated it is exploring numerous other blockchain applications.

Other intellectual property initiatives

In China, Baidu launched a copyright protection blockchain for media, especially photography. Koch Industries is working on a blockchain-based intellectual property licensing platform. EY and Microsoft announced a royalties blockchain for games. And GoDaddy acquired a company that proves the use of trademarks.

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