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Blockchain in Media: How Can Blockchain Fight Piracy? Posted on Aug 08 - 2018

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Television industry research firm Digital TV Research forecasted last year that the revenue loss of TV series and films due to online piracy would reach $52 billion by 2022. Since this figure doesn’t factor in the revenue that would be lost to the piracy of sport, games, pay TV and other forms of media content, the sense is that the cost of piracy to the media industry is much larger than $52 billion.

The reality is that blockchain — as of today — isn’t ready to eradicate piracy. Moreover, any digital media created for human consumption can be captured and duplicated. It is telling that, when asked questions about how blockchain could help solve issues around piracy and ad transparency in the media space, leaders of the blockchain projects we spoke with seemed more confident speaking about ad transparency and less about piracy.

Why blockchain might not eradicate piracy

Piracy is behavioral and there isn’t sufficient evidence showing why people do it, according to a report from CREATe, a U.K. copyright research body. The researchers found that most of the knowledge about unauthorized file sharing relates to music, pointing out that the reasons people unlawfully share music aren't necessarily the same with other forms of content. For instance, people might share music files unlawfully because that’s how it’s done in their community. On the other hand, the lack of access in certain countries might be a motivation for people to share TV programs online. Unaffordability might be the reason for other forms of content, especially in the case of games and software — however, this report doesn't look at software. The idea that certain content has no financial value might also be a culprit.

Again, none of the above is conclusive and complete, meaning that there is no guarantee that a blockchain project built in response to any of the above reasons why people might unlawfully share media content will stop the piracy of that particular kind of content. The CREATe report points out that both the industry and legislators need robust evidence on why people share any kind of media content unlawfully in order to be able to achieve success. Current evidence suggests that blockchain can — at best — only be a component of a larger initiative to fight piracy. In other words, blockchain can help fight piracy to some extent. It’s just unlikely that it will eradicate piracy alone.

Some experts suggest that it could become impossible or extremely difficult to share any media content unlawfully if the entire internet were built on blockchain technology. That might happen someday, but at present, here are some practical approaches for how blockchain could play a part in fighting piracy. View More

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