Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Blockchaining Movie Piracy

A Blockchain is a publicly accessible and decentralised database that is distributed over the Internet. It maintains transaction records publicly in cryptographic form. Transactions are trustless, meaning they can be computed, verified and recorded using automated consensus methods, across a peer to peer network of computers, which eliminates the need for an intermediary or third party to manage or control information.

As the Blockchain grows, tampering or takeover is virtually impossible using today’s technologies, creating an immutable chain of records.

For the film industry, Blockchain technology provides innovative opportunities to address issues related to distribution complexity, management of creative rights and digital piracy.

Combating Digital Piracy

Piracy is the one battleground that the film industry hopes to combat using Blockchain technology. Despite improved capabilities to protect content and track illegal distribution, incidents of leaking films online have also increased.

The problem is compounded with growing consumer acceptance towards accessing illegal content and, expectations of free content. MUSO, a technology company that tracks online piracy has reported visits to film and TV piracy sites reaching over 102 billion in 2016, with over 76% of these visits to illegal online streaming sites. Piracy continues to impact the film industry with revenue losses estimated to be in billions of dollars for the worldwide industry.

While Blockchain does not represent a silver bullet for eliminating piracy, it can be used to deter the process of leaking content illegally.

Film content meta-data can be encoded with a cryptographic transaction on the Blockchain. Access to upload or modify content can be made only with transactions on the Blockchain creating an immutable history of records that can deter unauthorised transfers.

A near future, global solution can be designed with collaboration from the film and content technology industry. This can be achieved by creating a feature film Blockchain registry for the industry. The Blockchain could utilise smart contracts and tokens to enable legitimate film uploads, screening and broadcasting and thus signal to content owners, search engines and ISPs when non Blockchain enables instances of content are discovered online. A simple solution could link such an activity to one of the many automated DMCA takedown services or even embed its own proprietary solution.

The earliest use case for films is, as in music, ownership rights and protection against piracy. Custos Media Technologies is a South Africa based start-up that uses an embedded bitcoin bounty in the content license file to incentivise downloaders to report illegal distribution of film content and enables media owners to track leaks.

Veredictum is an Australian Blockchain start-up that is developing applications to register scripts on the Blockchain. They are also developing products to digitally sign content by hashing it on the Blockchain, enabling illegal content to be recognised and reported.

Blockchain start-up SingularDTV, has entered the market in 2016, with a vision to become the ‘decentralised Netflix of the Internet’. SingularDTV is a Blockchain entertainment studio, smart contracts rights management platform and video on demand portal running on the Ethereum Blockchain. SingularDTV is also organised as a “Centrally Organised Distributed Entity” or CODE, on Ethereum. SingularDTV’s model will enable content registration, direct distribution and access via smart contracts, in a truly disintermediated model.
Blockchain Technology – The Film Industry Use Case - written by Paul Forrest
MBN Solutions.

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