A Texas A&M University School of Law professor recently published research exploring use cases for blockchain technology in the world of copyright administration. According to their findings, blockchain has the potential to radically change the way intellectual property is managed “domestically and internationally.”
Dr. Peter Yu, Regents Professor of Law and Communications and director of the Law and Intellectual Property Center at Texas A&M University School of Law, and sole author of the paper, says the immutability of blockchain makes it a prime candidate for integration with intellectual property. system.
According to the newspaper:
“On a blockchain, once a transaction has been recorded, it is virtually impossible to change that record. If the transaction is recorded incorrectly, a new transaction will have to be hashed into the blockchain to make a correction. The immutability feature has therefore made blockchain technology very attractive for registering copyrights, storing ownership and license records, or accomplishing other similar tasks.
Dr. Yu continues to explain that, particularly in the copyright system, the blockchain registry can provide a method by which people can determine the status of a particular registration, for example whether the copyright is has fallen into the public domain or been orphaned.
Other benefits, according to the study, include traceability, transparency and disintermediation.
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Traceability is defined in the document as the ability to trace the entire life cycle of a registration on the copyright register from its creation. Making this information publicly available through a blockchain explorer or similar method would provide an additional layer of transparency not available through traditional server-based systems of record.
The final benefit discussed in Dr. Yu’s article, disintermediation, concerns blockchain’s ability to operate independently of a governing body.
According to the paper, “without relying on a trusted intermediary – such as a government, bank or clearing house – the technology supports global cooperation even in the absence of participation or support from governments or intergovernmental bodies “.
Dr. Yu speculates that these benefits could lead to an artist- and business-led copyright system, in which intellectual property would potentially be registered and traded independently of the state.