Blockchain Can Help Artists Protect Their Works
Murky IP laws and outdated internet infrastructure make it hard for content creators to control their own work.
The internet was a game-changer for many industries, particularly artists. For the first time in history, writers, musicians, photographers, videographers and other artists had a platform to share their work on a global scale, creating new opportunities to generate revenue from the content they create. The unfettered reach of the web disrupted traditional content-driven industries, giving artists the power and freedom to self-publish in new formats outside of the confines of traditional business models.
It also opened doors to a wider definition of artistry. In the era of internet technology, every person can be a content producer, discoverer, disseminator and consumer, and those once “starving artists” were suddenly able to accumulate real wealth. Those opportunities expanded with consumers’ growing appetite for content, which enabled the value of quality intellectual property (IP) to be amplified to a much greater extent.
From one quality IP, it is now possible for artists to construct composite and diversified economic systems from copyright sales, advertisements, games and other derivatives. Consider the success of PewDiePie, the Swedish comedian and video producer who turned a series of quirky video game commentaries into a YouTube media empire, or Rhee Drummond, the Oklahoma mother of four who started a “ranch life” blog in 2006 that catapulted her to the internet and TV celebrity status. Both stars now generate millions of dollars from their content every year.
But for every success story, there are countless artists whose content is stolen, repurposed, or plagiarized online to the benefit of others. In 2016, for example, retailer Zara was accused by at least a dozen indie artists of using their designs in products without permission or compensation. Or the 2010 story of Scott Wilson who raised almost $1M via a Kickstarter campaign for his TikTok Lunatik watch band kit, only to have the idea stolen and his business opportunities crushed by a flood of cheaper copycats. This is not an isolated incidence. A 2017 update of the IP Commission Report found IP theft in the US alone exceeds $225B in losses to content creators every year.
Such thefts are made possible by outdated basic internet infrastructure and severe information asymmetry that results in unclear IP ownership, inadequate data authenticity, and obstacles to converting original content into liquid assets. These challenges are amplified by a centralized governance doctrine that promotes inferior content as premium products and creates a hostile environment that makes it difficult for artists to fairly promote and sell their work.
A fair playing field for artist
These long-standing barriers have limited opportunities for many creators to maximize the value and revenue potential of their work, but recent applications of blockchain in the creative space may soon change that.
Ink, a tech startup based in Singapore, has developed a new blockchain-based platform for content creators that will change the way artists publish and monetize their work.
The Ink platform features a public ledger where creators can register works and generate business directly, rather than working through a middleman who takes a cut of their revenue. Through a combination of blockchain technology, an IP asset exchange, and cross-chain interoperability, the new platform will be able to securely verify and record the exchange of content, eliminating the risk of theft and piracy and ensuring creators are fairly compensated for their work.
More importantly, it will help them more rapidly convert their content into liquid assets, while creating an environment where fan support ensures highest-quality content receives the most support.
A blockchain technology company may sound like an unlikely partner for creative content producers, but this technology promises to solve many of the problems that have plagued artists for years. The controls of a blockchain-based environment will enable them to finally fully leverage the value of their work.
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