Sony Turns to Blockchain for Copyright Management

Distributed ledger technology ensures efficiency and preserves ownership benefits, according to the Japanese corporate giant.

Japanese conglomerate Sony has developed blockchain-based software for controlling and dealing with intellectual property rights in a bid to resolve authentication problems in this field. The new system currently focuses on written works, but its broader applications target all related sectors, including films, music, and e-books, the company said on Monday.

The distributed ledger technology (DLT) solution upgrades Sony’s previous educational software for authentication and control of copyright issues. The new system utilizes blockchain because of its capabilities to bring transparency. DLT, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), can track all data and makes it impossible to change previous information.

“Today, advances in technologies for digital content creation allow anyone to broadcast and share content, but the rights management of that content is still carried out conventionally by industry organizations or the creators themselves, necessitating a more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works,” Sony explained in its press release.

Users of Sony’s copyright DLT software will be able to verify and share the exact date a particular author created a piece of work, thus preventing copyrights infringements. The company will also use the new blockchain system in training initiatives as its global educational division is one of the two main participants in the project along with Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ). The latter is an independent structure from Sony Music Entertainment, one of the world’s “big three” labels and a US subsidiary of the Tokyo-based group.

“Furthermore, the system lends itself to the rights management of various types of digital content including electronic textbooks and other educational content, music, films, VR content, and e-books. As such, Sony is contemplating possible uses in a wide range of fields,” Sony added.

Sony and its rivals are very active in exploring blockchain in a bid to become more competitive, cut operational costs, and diversify revenue streams in the digital age.