Finding the Perfect Match

Smart Contracts and Digital Asset Management

Lance Koonce
Aug 11, 2016 · 6 min read

For Content, A Good Match Remains Hard to Find

In the content industries, however, even with digitization it often remains difficult to identify the owners of rights (this is especially true in the music industry). As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, blockchain technologies may offer solutions for the issue of murky ownership information, which in the context of digital rights is for the most part a metadata issue (although that description oversimplifies things, because in many cases we’ve still got to solve the problem of the underlying bad data, at least for older works, before we can really put this tech to work).

So here’s where it gets interesting. What if the rights holder also could specify certain terms for potential transactions in advance, and make those available as well? And what if the person looking to license the content could specify the kinds of terms that would be acceptable, also in advance?

The term “smart contracts” comes up a lot in this context. As we discussed yesterday, that term has several meanings, depending on who is using it.Here, let’s use the definition of smart contracts that encompasses legal contracts between parties, with some parts of the contract reduced to code. Then let’s further assume that the coded provisions are incorporated onto a blockchain-based system like Ethereum, so that they can essentially become self-executing.

Where We Are Right Now

For the most part, we don’t have these types of systems yet in the content fields. Any automated processes for licensing between arms-length parties typically consist of a take-it-or-leave-it set of terms from the licensor; otherwise, individualized negotiations are the norm.

CreativeBlockchain

Musings on Distributed Applications for the Arts and Beyond

Lance Koonce

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Father, Tech/IP Lawyer, Dis(Mis?)placed Carolinian. Tweets about #IP #blockchain #bitcoin #AI #VR #privacy #NYCtech

CreativeBlockchain

Musings on Distributed Applications for the Arts and Beyond