17 October 2018Copyright

Sony to use blockchain in e-book IP management

Sony is using blockchain technology to develop a rights management system for digital written works such as e-books, the company announced on Monday.

Advances in the way that digital content is created and shared allow “anyone” to broadcast content, according to Sony.

The Japanese company claimed that a more efficient way to manage the ownership of copyright-protected written works is necessary.

Sony said that its new system is “specialised” to manage the rights-related information of written works.

For example, it will have features that show the date and time when electronic data was created, while the secure nature of blockchain means that this information will be difficult to falsify.

“Blockchains create networks where programs and information are difficult to destroy or falsify, and are well-adapted for the free transfer of data and rights,” Sony said.

Blockchain networks are currently used to transfer cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Sony said that using blockchain to record the rights-related information of written works will allow users to verify when data was created, and by whom, as well as allowing users to verify the rights-generation of written works.

The system will be able to manage the rights to a variety of content, including e-books, music, and films, according to Sony.

In particular, Sony’s education arm hopes to use the new system to manage educational materials.

The new blockchain-based system will be based on the Japanese company’s existing system for authenticating, sharing, and managing data rights.

Sony has not yet revealed how or when it plans to implement the blockchain-based digital rights management system.

Blockchain is having an increasing impact on internet-related businesses and IP.

Just last week, Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba filed a blockchain patent which would allow third parties to identify where illegal activities have taken place.

And earlier this year, a Chinese court ruled that evidence authenticated by blockchain can be accepted in internet copyright disputes.

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More on this story

8 October 2018   Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has applied to obtain a patent for a blockchain solution that allows for third-party intervention where illegal activities have taken place.
27 November 2018   The UK Intellectual Property Office has united with audio-visual and image organisations and blockchain rights company Jaak to investigate the potential use of blockchain technology.
11 December 2018   A court in China will begin accepting blockchain records from writers seeking to prove that they have copyright protection for their online material.