Abstract: The rapid advancement of information and technology has posed some serious challenges to intellectual property rights. Copyright is one such right which is facing difficulty in coping with the rapid rise and evolution of the internet. In this Internet era, copyrightable works are being extensively made and transformed into various digital platforms which has on the one hand opened up a significant market for a wide variety of artists to showcase their artistic talent to the world. On the other hand, it has posed some serious challenges in terms of copyright infringement and digital piracy that results in loss to the owners of the copyright, both in terms of money and reputation. Lack of control over the internet, difficulty in locating the source of infringement and ease of replication and modification of the content makes it difficult for the copyright holders to enforce their rights. The Digital Rights Management has failed to provide satisfactory protection to copyright holders in the online world. However, the advent of blockchain technology has certainly raised hopes of getting an effective solution to check copyright infringement in cyberspace. Blockchain is a software protocol which helps in storing information within digital blocks which are tamper proof and time stamped, making them immutable from backdating. Blockchain technology has gained widespread recognition with the introduction of cryptocurrency. Application of smart contracts to Blockchain further strengthens its reliability and security. This article aims to present a descriptive analysis of the concept of blockchain, its functioning and how its unique features including smart contracts could help in securing copyright content, creating more transparent licensing procedures through smart contracts and enforcing the rights of the owner of the copyright in the digital arena. The article shall also look into instances where blockchain technology is being used to secure copyright protected works on the internet and discuss the challenges in implementing this technology in respect of copyrightable works.
Author: Mayank Tyagi is a Research Scholar at the Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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