Copyright, technology, blockchain and the state of digital piracy

The next instalment of one of my favourite conferences on copyright and technology is right around the corner, on January 24 in NYC, and as usual it promises some interesting: debate, controversy and hot-off-the-press insights into the murky world of copyright business, technology, and legislation.

Plus, this year, it also features a panel on the game-changing technology of blockchain and its myriad disruptive applications across entire industries, including copyright and the creative industries.

This is a very exciting period of wholesale digital transformation, and as I mentioned once or twice in previous articles and blog-posts, the game is only just beginning for potential applications of: blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart licences and sundry trust mechanisms in the digital domain. In an age of ubiquitous content and digital access, the focus of copyright is rightfully shifting away from copying and moving towards the actual usage of digital content, which brings added complexity to an already complex and subjective topic. It is far too early to tell if blockchain can provide a comprehensive answer to this challenge.

Thankfully, the inclusion of this panel session recognises the never-ending role of new and innovative technologies in shaping the evolution of copyright. Ever since that first mass copy technology (i.e. the printing press) raised questions of rights ownership and due recompense for works of the mind, new technologies replicating and sharing creative content has driven the wheel of evolution in this area. Attendees will doubtless benefit from the insight and expertise of this panel of speakers as well as moderator and Program Chair, Bill Rosenblatt, who questioned, (in a recent blog post), the practicality, relevance and usefulness of blockchain in a B2C context for copyright. You are in for a treat.

This particular conference series has never failed to provide some thought-provoking insights and debates driven by expert speakers across multiple industries. In fact, I reconnected recently with a couple of previous speakers: Dominic Young and Chris Elkins, who are both still pretty active, informed and involved in the copyright and technology agenda.

Dominic, ex-CEO of the UK's Digital Catapault, is currently working on a hush-hush project that will potentially transform the B2C transaction space. Chris, is co-founder of Muso, a digital anti-piracy organisation, which successfully secured additional funding to expand its global footprint with its innovative approach to anti-piracy. For example, if you've ever wondered which countries are most active in media piracy, then look no further than Muso's big data-based state of digital piracy reports. Don't say I never tell you anything.

In any case, I look forward to hearing attendees’ impressions on the copyright and technology 2017 conference, which I'm unable to attend / participate this time, unfortunately. In the meantime, I'll continue to spend my spare time, or whatever brain capacity I have left, with pro-bono activities that allow me to: meet, mentor / coach and advise some amazing startups on the dynamic intersection of IP, business and technology. More on that in another post.

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About the author
Jude Umeh is a member of the UK's Sector Consulting Group in Capgemini's global Telecom Media and Entertainment (TME) community. His areas of expertise include: music, media and digital rights management; and he contributes to thought leadership development and delivery of solutions and services to the stakeholders in these fields. Jude is the author of The World Beyond Digital Rights Management.

See all posts by Jude Umeh

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