How blockchain is saving copyright


Article published in Milano Finanza on March 6, 2019

We have a duty to defend our ideas in the same way that Bill Gates guards jealously the Codex Leicester, a collection of scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci: it is the only one privately owned, sold for over $ 30 million. Ideas have all equal dignity and they can be as simple as they are disruptive, I’m thinking of the cut-off paintings who have given an everlasting fame to the artist Lucio Fontana.

Original, brilliant or just drafted, intuitions are increasingly bone of contention in a global market where players are multiplying exponentially. Especially in an area as sensitive as intellectual property the blockchain is able to guarantee a meritocratic and efficient regulation. The circulation of digital works has now made anachronistic the rights collective management societies. A new paradigm is needed to protect the “big ones”, but above all to protect up-and-coming artists.

The groundbreaking application is the treatment of patents. It is not easy lodge an application: this is next to impossible without the help of an expert. Exorbitant costs and red tape discourage above all small and medium-sized enterprises and individual authors, by promoting a sort of dominant position of the big companies. Futhermore, patent protection implies considerable risk of dispute: for this reason many actors give up on the process.

In 2017, blockchain-based patents requested increased by 300 percent compared to the previous year. Mainly giants of commerce and services, information technology and finance obtained them: Alibaba is the winner of this special ranking with 90 licences, followed by IBM (89), MasterCard (80), Bank of America (53) and the People’s Bank of China (44).

New jobs for new professionals are on the horizon. Italy, finally European Blockchain Partnership member, is following the EU’s path. The European Union was in favour of the protection of intellectual property through the blockchain on several occasions. Dedicated department Union Intellectual Property Office has launched a forum to combat the “global plague” of counterfeiting in the last few weeks. This shows that also institutions need the people and independent organisations’ contributions to create networks and build our futures together.

Obviously, the approval of a regulatory framework is not the panacea for all the copyright’s difficulties. Protection must follow few but effective rewarding talent services forming an ecosystem: recording of truly winning ideas, a showcase for promoting projects and legal protection above all.

Advantages are also about copyright. Authors may include their own works in a shared, clear and transparent database providing all relevant information that reduce this risk to the maximum possible the threat of falsification of works. Furthermore, the possibility of carrying out micro-payments whith very low transaction costs considerably simplifies crowdfunding.

Consulcesi Tech and Rehegoo Music Group apply blockchain to the production and distribution of up-and-coming artists’ works. They are at rirk because of streaming platforms who do not guarantee their fair compensation in most cases. Thanks to Smart Contracts there’s no escaping real-time licences and paperless payments. For this reason I compare Marco Rinaldo, founder of Rehegoo Music, to great visionary giants like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Cultural industries (in the musical, cinematographic and editorial areas) felt the backlash of technological innovations more than any other, but what at first seemed like a disaster has turned into an opportunity. Disintermediation changed the supply chain (creation, production and distribution of the product) involving higher risks but also more transparency for artists, who are able to directly manage their rights.

You have to think about this when you download music on your smartphone, when you read an e-book at lunchtime or when you see a movie on your tablet at the gym or on the train. Maybe no popcorn, but sustain yourself on priceless ideas.