Microsoft, EY Partner to Develop Blockchain Solution for Copyright and Royalties Management

Microsoft and EY announced a joint initiative to develop a large-scale blockchain project for intellectual property and management of royalties.

Microsoft is partnering with Ernst & Young (EY) to develop a blockchain solution for royalty management and content rights. As a first step in the initiative, Microsoft will apply the technology to its gaming business. The new product was launched on Wednesday.

With the new solution developed by EY and Microsoft, entities will streamline the processes related to intellectual property and royalty agreements. The network will gather authors, production houses, songwriters, developers, and other creators. Currently, the process of tracking and receiving copyright payments involves many intermediaries, which affects creators most of all.

Besides cutting middlemen and costs, the blockchain-based system will improve transparency and trust between parties. Also, the operational inefficiencies and errors will be reduced.

The solution will revolve around a smart contract-based model, which will allow real-time assessment of the royalty position of each industry player, ensuring high visibility for recording and reconciling transactions. The system will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology and Quorum blockchain protocol developed by JPMorgan.

Microsoft will start deploying the blockchain product with its gaming partners, such as Ubisoft – one of the leading video game publishers. When the network is fully functional, Microsoft expects to gather thousands of its royalty partners and handle millions of transactions on a daily basis.

Grace Lao, Microsoft’s general manager of Finance Operations, said:

“Deploying this blockchain solution will allow us to efficiently manage high volumes and automate processes, while at the same time improve partner satisfaction and enhance compliance. Smart contract technology is far more flexible and scalable than any prior solution for managing business agreements.”

“We look forward to deploying this solution across our gaming ecosystem and exploring additional blockchain applications for other finance processes at Microsoft,” he added.

The solution launched by EY and Microsoft might end up in one of the largest enterprise blockchain ecosystems. 

Paul Brody of EY commented:

“The scale, complexity and volume of digital rights and royalties transactions makes this a perfect application for blockchains.”

EY is also developing the infrastructure to conduct DLT-based business. In April 2018, EY announced the trial of its EY Blockchain Analyzer, a DLT solution that lets accounting firms conduct better audits of blockchain companies.