A blockchain technology company based in Berlin called Ascribe is using the bitcoin-related ledger to help protect artists’ intellectual property. The company can enable artists to retain credit to their work even when sharing their work online and can also transfer or sell their rights without having to go through a third party.
These are just one of the many blockchain technology applications being harnessed currently, as some have used the ledger to create a secure land registry database or to protect digital files. Blockchain is considered immutable, as the ledger is publicly stored across a vast network of computers verifying any changes or transactions, which makes it a good record-keeping technology.
Blockchain Technology and Intellectual Property
While most of Ascribe’s offerings can be applied on digital art, photography and design, it can also be used on physical art like sculpture and installations. The artist simply needs to do is to register his or her creation, take a picture, and upload it on Ascribe.
With the use of blockchain technology, the company attributes scarcity of digital works, thereby giving them legitimate value, just like a one-of-a-kind painting or a limited edition photo print. The artists can then decide on the terms of transfer or sale of their intellectual property.
For Ascribe, this could mark the end of piracy as the purchase or borrowing of these art forms can be verified as legitimate or not. For instance, photographers can loan their digital works to online galleries for a limited time or decide to sell their photos to users. Other copies existing online and not accounted for by the artist or creator will be considered counterfeits.
As of this writing, Ascribe has more than 600 artists signed up for its service, which is free for creators. It also features 2,600 digital works and unique editions registered.