Publishing 2.0: A New Beginning with Blockchain Technology
While blockchain technology is revolutionizing traditional sectors, several applications in the music and art fields have also been developed.
While on the one hand, industries are using blockchains to improve efficiency, creative industries are using them to increase accountability and removing the factor of trust. Likewise, the media and publishing industry is not far behind in the race to adopt the technology either.
The Need for Blockchain Tech in Publishing and Print Media
With the advent of digitalization, the publishing industry has been actively fighting the problems of plagiarism and copyright infringement for the past couple of decades. It also often hard to ascertain who the original or first creator of any work is. Furthermore, the current legal option of litigation is both time-consuming and costly for the parties involved.
However, blockchain technology, which has been the heart of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since 2009, could finally be a solution to these problems in the publishing industry. Cryptocurrencies use the distributed ledger model to verify that transactions in the network are legitimate. All records made to the ledger are immutable and can be viewed by anyone.
Similarly, while publishing an article, book or any other literary work, identifying metadata can be uploaded to a public ledger by the author. The update made by the author will then be timestamped and available to be viewed publicly. A smart contract can also be programmed to work to check the entire main chain for similar or matching work. If another piece of content is found to coexist, the author will be denied exclusive copyright over the challenged work. In case the smart contract fails to find another copy of the work though, the author’s work will be considered unique, granting them full and exclusive rights to their work.
Another smart contract can be used to check for snippets of plagiarism in any given literary piece. The program will analyze all other written material that has been stored on the ledger and flag any plagiarized content.
Going one step further, if a media house wants to publish a book available on the blockchain, it can pay the original creator a fee to use their content. Since the system is automated, the fee can be predetermined by the author of the work and deposited to his wallet in the form of specific digital tokens. Blockchain technology can easily simplify the tedious and long procedure of obtaining permission to reuse original content.
Current Projects Underway
Po.et is a shared ledger that will record metadata of the authors of any original digital content.
Describing its infrastructure, the platform’s developers said, “In the same way that blockchain technologies have revolutionized the financial industry by creating an immutable and distributed accounting ledger serving as a platform for financial applications, Po.et will transform the publishing industry by creating an immutable and distributed ledger for creative works.”
Mediachain.io is a peer to peer platform for sharing information across applications and organizations using blockchain technology.
Amino Pay aims to tackle the problem of declining revenue in digital advertising by using blockchain technology to verify of ad views and clear payments between agencies, creators, and publishers.
Another project is the Kreds Blockchain, which monetizes digital participation and one of the use cases involves a political news aggregator, and in May 2018, the project plans to launch a blockchain-based news aggregator to onboard new users with micropayment and earning models.
Blockchain Will be Impactful for Publishing, but Several Questions Remain
At a Forbes Event, Blockchain in Publishing, which took place on April 18, many of the panelists agreed that blockchain technology would have a noticeable impact on the publishing industry in the next one to two years.
While the benefits of blockchain are clear, there are still some unanswered questions regarding deletion of material in an immutable system, what would happen is such a network was hacked and whether transparency is desirable. These topics will be the talking points for an upcoming Forbes event.